To meet the growing demand for courts for Pickleball, one of the fastest growing sports in the county, Howard County’s Department of Recreation & Parks (HCRP) is adding six courts to Alpha Ridge Park, in Marriottsville. The new pickleball courts will share space with the park’s target archery range; the area will become a multi-use facility and the pickleball courts will be available when the range is not in use.
A paddle sport played on a badminton-sized court with a slightly modified tennis net, Howard County began offering pickleball programs in the summer of 2014. Programs were first held at the Meadowbrook Athletic Complex (MAC); as the demand for places to play grew, HCRP expanded its pickleball program to include drop-in programs at the North Laurel Community Center and Gary J. Arthur Community Center.
The Friday morning drop-in program at North Laurel alone draws an estimated 100 people weekly. In 2017, the county opened its first two outdoor pickleball courts at Atholton Park. HCRP now also offers adult leagues and classes at the MAC, Atholton Park, Hammond Park and Thunder Hill Elementary School, with tournaments played at the MAC.
“To stay on the cutting edge of healthy recreation, we have already created Howard County’s first cricket-pitch, the area’s first skills park for mountain bikes, quick-start tennis courts and bocce ball courts,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “Coming soon, we are constructing competition croquet courts and at least six more pickleball courts.”
In addition to the new courts at Alpha Ridge Park, HCRP is also looking at constructing pickleball courts at underutilized space at Atholton, Centennial and Rockburn Branch parks. HCRP is considering creating pickleball courts in the place of the current handball court at Atholton Park, the current skate spot at Centennial Park and adding blended lines to the east basketball court at Rockburn Branch Park.
For more information on the County’s Pickleball programs, visit www.howardcountymd.gov/pickleball.