After countless hours of meetings, phone calls and fundraising, a fully accessible six-court facility is becoming a reality in the picturesque village of Pugwash.
The $438,000 project, featuring four pickleball courts and two tennis courts, is on track for a spring opening after breaking ground in August. Maritime Tennis of New Glasgow is handling the install and did the paving this fall.
A turning point came in July of last year when the Northumberland Tennis and Pickleball Association (NTPA) partnered with the Sunset Community, well-known in Cumberland County for its work in helping people with varying abilities and needs achieve their goals.
Sunset Community was able to provide a significant parcel of land on its grounds. The courts are located near a disc golf course and nature trails.
“A lot of the time, it’s us having to go out into the community to have those social activities and things, and it’s nice to have the community coming here to have that integration,” says Julie Hoeg, the CEO at Sunset. “You can imagine people from a wide variety of backgrounds and ages all playing together and having fun and socializing.”
Securing $250,000 from ACOA in August of last year was a major momentum-builder. The Courts and Communities in Action committee was also able to access funding from the Province of Nova Scotia, the Municipality of Cumberland, the Bragg Family Foundation and Sport Nova Scotia’s EDI (Equity, Diversity, Inclusion) fund.
Individual donations from NTPA and community members rolled in to a tune of almost $60,000 as of November.
The project pushes forward recreational opportunity for all in a supportive setting, says Mark Scott, the chairman of the CCA committee. Adaptive equipment will be available and two NTPA members are trained to coach.
“The nice thing about pickleball and tennis, and building it in the way that we have so it’s fully accessible to people of all abilities and mobilities, is that there is very little cost to get involved in either one of the sports,” Scott says.
The facility, almost four years in the planning, is a shining example of what community commitment can accomplish.
“It’s very difficult to argue against the impact that this can have on a community and on an individual’s health,” Scott says.