Edina parks are getting into a pickle.
Thanks to a $150,000 donation from a local family, Edina expects to have a five-court pickleball complex — at Rosland Park — ready for play by the Fourth of July.
The sport, a cross between tennis and pingpong, is played with paddles and a plastic ball on courts about half the size of a tennis court.
“Pickleball is a sport that has been growing among all demographics,” said Ann Kattreh, Edina’s parks and recreation director. “I have played it myself. It’s a fun game.”
The city in recent years has restriped a few tennis courts for pickleball, but members of the Mooty family, who enjoy pickleball at their Arizona winter home, made the donation to create a dedicated court in Edina. The city will pay for “soft” costs such as surveying and soil testing.
Pickleball was invented about 50 years ago in the Pacific Northwest. A group of friends created the game using equipment from other sports.
The USA Pickleball Association will hold its first national championships in May. The group claims that more than 2.5 million Americans play.
The sport’s name comes from the rowing term “pickle boat,” which is a crew made up of leftover rowers not assigned to other boats.
The game is catching on in Minnesota, said Dennis Gallaher, president of the Southwest Metro Pickleball Club. Bloomington, Eden Prairie and Chanhassen have pickleball courts.
Its growth probably can be traced to Minnesota snowbirds who winter in Arizona, where it’s extremely popular, Gallaher said. He ought to know — he’s one of them.
“Pickleball is very similar to tennis, but it has a lot of very fast-paced hitting, back and forth,” he said. “It’s very quick.” Older people find it easier on their legs because there’s not as much running as in tennis, he added.
Pickleball, he said, is “a game that beginners can play immediately and enjoy. You can learn it in an afternoon, even if you’ve never held a paddle.”