Premier Pickleball Center preparing to break ground on west side


Construction will begin soon on Premier Pickleball Center, slated to house Springfield’s first dedicated, indoor pickleball courts that can be utilized year-round.

Pickleball is now the fastest-growing sport in the U.S. for the third year in a row, and like many cities, Springfield has struggled to keep up with the demand for court space.

“I’ve been playing for a while, and there’s just not enough courts for indoor or outdoor use in the city. My wife and I wanted to do something that would benefit a growing sport,” said Mike Fox, who owns and operates self-storage facilities throughout central Illinois along with his wife, Angela.

“There are no dedicated, indoor facilities I know of in Springfield,” he said. “People play on gym floors or at the YMCA, but this is going to be nothing but pickleball. And there’s only going to be more demand for court space as more people play.”

The Association of Pickleball Professionals estimates there are currently more than 36 million people in the U.S. playing pickleball, a sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping pong and is suitable for all ages.

Fox said they’ve purchased 2.4 acres of land at 3400 Constitution Dr., across from O’Shea Builders, and plan to build 10 indoor and five outdoor pickleball courts. The facility will be heated in the winter and glass garage doors that open and large fans will provide good airflow in the summer, making it a cooler environment than playing outdoors in hot weather, he said.

“We’ve done our research on the courts, the spacing, the lighting, everything to make it a great experience whether people are playing indoor or outdoor,” Fox said.

Premier Pickleball Center is slated to open by November.

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