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Pickleball group raising funds to update Cahn Grove courts

December 4, 2020

ASHLAND – As their sport grows in popularity locally, a group of Pickleball enthusiasts has begun a capital campaign to raise funds to upgrade the city’s courts.

With approval and endorsement from the City of Ashland Parks and Recreation Department, Ashland Pickleball Association aims to raise at least $130,000. The donations will be used to significantly improve existing Pickleball courts at the city’s Cahn Grove Park.

Ashland County Community Foundation has committed to support the effort with a $10,000 capstone grant. This grant will provide final dollars once the Association has achieved its fundraising goal.

“When we learned about this effort from local residents, we saw it as a wonderful strategic grantmaking opportunity,” Kristin Aspin, Chief Program Officer of ACCF. “We believe this facility will be a great asset for our community, and we hope our capstone gift will inspire additional private donations.”

Described as a mix between tennis, badminton and ping pong, Pickleball is played with paddles and a whiffle-like ball. It’s one of the fastest-growing sports in the country.

“Pickleball is a health promoting sport that can be played by anybody,” said Ashland Pickleball Association President Norma Sturgeon. While it’s often thought of as an activity for senior adults, Sturgeon said, Pickleball is a great sport for the whole family. People of any age and ability can play, and equipment can be purchased at a relatively low cost.

Within the past two years, multiple groups of Pickleball players have formed locally. They play indoors at Ashland Family YMCA and Ashland Grace Church as well as outdoors at Cahn Grove Park, where the City of Ashland recently painted over old tennis courts to create three makeshift Pickleball courts.

APA envisions expanding and improving the Cahn Grove facility to accommodate six courts, a new surface, new fencing and other equipment. The estimated project cost is around $130,000. The City has agreed to provide new lighting when the project is complete.

Sturgeon and Campaign Chairman Dr. John Jentes have enlisted the help of Gene Haberman as a campaign advisor. Also involved in the effort are campaign steering committee members Tricia Zupan, Tom McGee, Bonnie McGee and Molly Riley as well as APA board members Patty Hart and Darla Plice.

Checks should be made payable to “City of Ashland/Pickleball Fund” and sent to Ashland Pickleball Association, c/o Darla Plice, 1190 Twp Rd 1426, Ashland, Ohio 44805.

Questions can be directed to the Ashland Pickleball Association directors at

About Ashland County Community Foundation: Ashland County Community Foundation advances philanthropy and improves the quality of life in Ashland County by connecting people who care with causes that matter. ACCF has awarded over $17 million in scholarships, grants and distributions.