Edina pickleball players finally have home-court advantage. Thanks to a generous donation from Edina’s Mooty family, Rosland Park will now feature five side-by-side pickleball courts. In July, there was a grand opening celebration to officially present the courts to the community.
“Pickleball is one of those games that people of any age can learn and have fun,” Bruce Mooty says of the racquet sport, a hybrid of platform tennis and tennis. Created in the mid-1960s by a couple of men who were looking for a way to entertain their families, pickleball includes two to four players using solid paddles to hit a Wiffle-like ball over a net. The rules are similar to tennis, and the court’s layout reflects badminton.
Mooty first played the sport in 1980 when he and his brother Chuck visited a friend in Seattle. “We loved the game,” he says. Once home, Mooty made a primitive pickleball court on his Edina driveway. He continued to enjoy the sport—so much so that, before his wedding ceremony, Mooty and several other family members played pickleball, and it was a match made in heaven—the Mootys were hooked. “It’s a great family game,” he says.
Mooty’s father, John, and his uncle, Melvin, were both well-known attorneys and businessmen and were part of Minneapolis’ longest-standing law firm, now known as Gray Plant Mooty. Mooty says the older men were much more than brothers who practiced law together—they were close friends. “They both really valued family and loved to do things together with family,” he says. Mooty approached the city in spring 2015 to discuss honoring the men, now deceased, by donating funds for pickleball courts.
After considering various locations, it was decided that Rosland Park provided the best locale for the pickleball courts. “It’s a very active location, and we thought it would be a place they’d be visible and well used,” parks and recreation director Ann Kattreh says. The 22-acre park offers scenic vistas alongside Lake Cornelia. It also features the Edina Aquatic Center, a playground, two tennis courts, a baseball field, a volleyball court, disc golf, a fishing pier, a walking path and a gazebo for gatherings. The site provided ample space, allowing the courts to be constructed next to the tennis courts without taking away existing amenities, Kattreh says.
Between the two families, including Mooty and his brothers, Chuck and Dave, and his cousins Paul Mooty and Mary Kileen, $150,000 was donated toward the courts’ construction, which began in May, a little over a year from when discussions began about the park addition. “I’ve had a lot of people in the community say how excited they are to have this sport coming,” Mooty says.
Count Bob Stein as one of the enthusiasts. As a player of most, if not all, racquet-related sports, Stein has taken his love of pickleball across the metro, including playing in Apple Valley, Eden Prairie, Shoreview and Woodbury. He considers the new courts a welcome addition to Edina. “This will be five blocks from my house, so I’m very excited,” he says.
“[The courts] are going to be spectacular,” Kattreh says, noting the sport, popular in other parts of the country, continues to pick up momentum in Minnesota. “It is really gaining a lot of traction in the U.S.,” she says. Realizing that many residents participate in the sport around the Twin Cities as well as in their snowbird communities in Arizona and Florida, Kattreh is pleased that they can now play pickleball here at home. “It’s exciting to be offering quality courts for our residents to enjoy in Edina,” she says.
Limited pickleball programming could begin in the fall. Extensive pickleball programming will arrive in 2017. The Southwest Metro Pickleball Club offers membership for $15 a year. Benefits include drills, lessons and training sessions; weekly emails; inter-club tournaments and leagues; in-house tournaments, networking opportunities and much more.