Group hopes to make Mequon, Thiensville a mecca for pickleball | Ozaukee County News | News graphic


THIENSVILLE – Calling it “more than just a game,” a group of pickleball enthusiasts are pushing for more courts in Mequon and Thiensville.

One player, Jim Reilly, took his case directly to Thiensville Village Council earlier this month.

“It’s very social. Lots of fun, lots of laughs. There aren’t many activities like that,” he said. “While you’re sweating, a lot of players will stop after for coffee, for breakfast. Local businesses would do well.

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Pickleball combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping pong and is played indoors or outdoors on a badminton court and a slightly modified tennis net, according to USA Pickleball.

Reilly and Ozaukee County Pickleball Ambassador to the United States, Chris Korjenek, want to turn the two existing tennis courts in Thiensville Village Park into potentially six dedicated pickleball courts.

“We wanted to pitch the idea to them,” Korjenek said of the recent meeting.

However, that’s not the only place they’ve set their sights on.

It was late last year when Korjenek and Lowell Barkan, an 80-year-old avid pickleball player, started talking to many people about the overall pickleball scene in Mequon and Thiensville, hoping to show elected officials and anyone who wants to listen to this out there is a huge ask for the sport.

“People from all over the state are jumping on the bandwagon because the game is so easy to understand, there are few barriers to entry, it’s inexpensive to play, and can be played by all ages. “, Korjenek said. “Pickleball courts would be a fantastic amenity to provide in a community where parks are plentiful and fully supported by residents.”

Continuing to notice growing support for the sport as well as the many professionally run tournaments and programs taking place across the state, Korjenek felt it was finally time to take action locally.

She started by making a list of people who play in the Mequon-Thiensville area and who would support new grounds.

The list quickly grew to about 250 people.

Korjenek also compiled information on the general cost of resurfacing land, estimating that the project at Thiensville Village Park could cost up to $250,000.

Korjenek presented other findings to the City of Mequon and the Mequon-Thiensville School District – which operates the Mequon-Thiensville Recreation Department.

“During our presentation, we were looking at a few other places like Virmond Park, Rotary Park, Lemke Park and Red Barn Park,” she said, finding that the city was already discussing plans to resurface a field of existing basketball in the Rotary park to make it a dual use for basketball and pickleball.

Range Line Recreation could also become a pickleball hotspot, Korjenek notes, as the MTSD is in talks to add eight pickleball courts, a basketball court and restrooms in addition to the two existing baseball diamonds. She estimates that the total cost would be $500,000 for this project.

Other potential locations include Concordia University and Athlete Performance.

“There’s a bunch of conversations going on right now about where in Mequon and Thiensville we can get land to accommodate this explosive pickleball growth, so that’s where we’re at,” Korjenek added.

While there’s obviously a lot more work to do, especially when it comes to figuring out costs, Korjenek is hopeful for what the future holds.

“If we could get approval from either of these two entities (the village or the recreation department) to go ahead and start fundraising, and if we could get some major sponsors to help , I’m very optimistic we could get more courts in 2023,” she said.

Village chairman Van Mobley said the idea is “exciting” and that he supports the group’s efforts, but acknowledges it will cost money, some of which must come from private funding.


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