Written by Tiane Davis // Photo by Macy Cox
Delk Construction is making progress on the new pickleball court project at Berryhill Park, which was approved in August. The project includes eight new pickleball courts and six new tennis courts.
Director of Searcy Parks and Recreation Mike Parsons said he believes the new courts, specifically the pickleball courts, will bring variety to the parks in Searcy.
“I think that it’s going to offer a different avenue and a different venue for Searcy citizens to participate in,” Parsons said. “Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports out there right now, and we’re trying to get on that trend. I think it’s going to give people who have never played or heard of pickleball a new opportunity to do it in Searcy.”
Parsons said pickleball is different from sports like soccer, baseball and basketball in that any age group is able to play. He said he hopes it will bring the Harding and Searcy communities closer together.
“People from all different walks of life can get out there and participate in it together,” Parsons said. “Hopefully Harding students will participate in the different tournaments that we have and just every day going out there and playing in their free time.”
Parsons said there were a few people who opposed the project to begin with, but the overall reaction has been positive.
“We have received a tremendous amount of support for the project, not just people from the pickleball community, but also people in the tennis community,” Parsons said. “We’re hoping that it gets used not just by people locally, but that we can draw people into the city to use it, as well.”
Bear Davidson, the lead engineer for the project, said the project is ahead of schedule. The original goal for the project was to have it finished in August 2023, but Davidson expects it to be completed in July.
“Construction is going very well,” Davidson said. “We’ve had enough dry spells during the winter to be able to continue construction. Delk Construction, a local firm, is the contractor for this job and they’ve been great to work with.”
Davidson said he is excited about the project and for the impact it will have on the park and the city.
“I think when people see the finished product, they will be even more excited and supportive of future projects in Searcy,” Davidson said. “I’m thankful for our city leadership and especially the A&P Commission for choosing to fund such a neat project and for allowing us to be a part of that process.”
Head tennis coach David Redding, who teaches the pickleball class and plays the game nationally, said he has been an advocate of pickleball since 2013 when he became involved in the sport. He said he thinks Berryhill Park is a great place for the new courts.
“It will be a busy place servicing the growing number of pickleball players in Searcy and White County as it opens up later in the spring,” Redding said. “Berryhill Park is the perfect location for these new courts: Close to the center of town and surrounded by many restaurants. It will be the place to gather for great pickleball play and family activities.”
Redding said he expects Searcy to become a top location for pickleball once the courts open.
“It’s great for the citizens of Searcy to now have a top notch facility for individual play and group play, in addition to running leagues and holding tournaments,” Redding said. “It’s time for Searcy to be a top pickleball destination in Arkansas.”