Pickleball advocates to press commission for use of facility

Posted 12/8/22

The Powell Recreation District board is siding with seniors looking for a place to play pickleball, as members confirmed Tuesday night at their monthly meeting.

“We want what they …

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Pickleball advocates to press commission for use of facility

Posted

The Powell Recreation District board is siding with seniors looking for a place to play pickleball, as members confirmed Tuesday night at their monthly meeting.

“We want what they want,” said district director Colby Stenerson prior to the meeting.

Marynell Oechsner approached the board to discuss updates on her search for a facility to host a group of seniors after they were denied access to the Wyoming National Guard Armory gymnasium, which the group had access to for several years during the winter. She said the group has been “frustrated” while looking for a replacement.

“It’s been a frustrating fall for us and it looks like it’s going to continue to carry on,” she told the board.

Stenerson, who has been a proponent of the group and assisted in procuring equipment and facilities, has struggled to find a new place for the group to use largely due to construction issues elsewhere in Powell. The group had previously asked to use Heart Mountain Hall at the Park County Fairgrounds, but had been denied access by Park County Commissioners, who oversee the use of fairgrounds assets. 

Oechsner said the group wants to bring the issue to the commissioners in person, but was unable to get on the docket until January at the earliest.

Stenerson has sent a letter to the commission about the issue in support of the group. They also have the support of county commissioner Scott Mangold. He said other commissioners “may not understand pickleball,” and that the use of tape to mark boundaries was a major concern for them when denying the group access.

“They have dances and other activities in the hall that use removable tape and are probably harder on the facility,” he said.

The facility hosts concerts and dances and recently hosted a large cornhole tournament that was approved by the commission. 

“What we need is an indoor rec center,” said Ashley Hildebrand, treasurer for the rec board.

Original plans as the Powell Aquatic Center was being built left room for a gymnasium expansion to be added at a later date, but the expense would mean finding funding. Board vice chairman Myron Heny said that could be tough due to other high priority projects in the city.

“It would be nice if we could get a special use tax again,” he said. “If that would ever come up, we’d have to really get the community involved, because there are other issues like the Division Street project that I know that are high priority projects.”

Mangold agreed with Heny’s assessment. 

“It would have to be a grassroots effort,” he said in a Wednesday morning interview.

Other recreation programs have had trouble finding adequate space in the past, he said. 

“Colby tears his hair out every year trying to get gymnastics and youth [and adult] volleyball and basketball into the gyms and to coordinate everything,” Heny said. “They had to cut back gymnastics, because we couldn’t get a spot [for them].”

Heny told Oechsner that the board would support the pickleball players as much as they could.

“If you come up with a good idea, run it by Colby and he’ll run it by us,” Heny suggested.

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