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Randy Mantiply and Seth McMurray practice on the new pickleball court.

Pickleball players will have a new place to play in Warrenton come July 18. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held that day at 5:45 p.m. at the new court, built at Academy Hill Park.

Pickleball is sort of like tennis, played on a smaller court. Players use paddles to strike a perforated ball that looks like a wiffle ball. The sport has been growing in popularity and the Warrenton Parks and Recreation Department started getting requests from players for a court.

The town spent $30,000 to build the court (using money from proffers), put a fence around it and lay an asphalt walk leading to it from the parking lot.

Area pickleball players typically play at Auburn Middle School or the recreation center at Vint Hill. Players can adapt a tennis court or basketball court for pickleball, but they won’t have to do that at Academy Hill where the court is sized and lined specifically for pickleball.

“It’s nice to have a court dedicated to pickleball,” said Randy Mantiply of Warrenton, who had an opportunity to try out the court last week with J. Seth McMurray, assistant director of the Warrenton Parks and Recreation Department.

Mantiply has been playing pickleball for four years and is a member of the Fauquier County Pickleball Association. He said he first saw it played after he and his wife finished playing racquetball at Vint Hill. Mantiply got hooked and now he teaches the game, too.

“It’s more fun, more social. The games are quick -- typically 15 minutes long,” Mantiply said.

He said he lives almost across the street from Academy Hill Park, so the new court will be convenient for him to play on.

Academy Hill is a small park. There’s a baseball diamond and a few picnic tables there. The pickleball court is on the far end opposite the parking lot, joined by a new asphalt path.

“Our parks are rather small, but they have a nice variety” of leisure activities, said McMurray.

Academy Hill Park is open from dawn to dusk. The new pickleball court is intended for the public’s use and not for league play. Registering for a court time won’t be required, but players will be asked to limit their use if others are waiting.

Free pickleball clinics with Martin Brown are scheduled for 6, 6:30, 7 and 7:30 p.m. after the July 18 ribbon cutting. Registration for the clinics is required and can be done at warfonline.com. Up to eight players per clinic can be accommodated.

Academy Hill Park is located at 167 Academy Hill Road.

Reach James Ivancic at jivancic@fauquier.com.

 

 

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