WARSAW — Ribbon cutting dedications were held Wednesday afternoon at Kelly Park, a hidden gem in the Warsaw Parks system. The first ribbon cutting was for four dedicated pickleball courts followed by a ribbon cutting for new playground equipment. A large group of pickleballers, members of the PickleBall Phanatics, were on hand and ready to hit the courts once the ribbon cutting concluded.
“If it wasn’t for them, this wouldn’t be happening right now,” said Sean Gardiner, maintenance and facility director for Warsaw Parks. Gardiner was referring to K21 Foundation and the Dr. Dane and Mary Louis Miller Foundation who provided grants for the project.
“The Miller foundation is very excited to be a part of this,” said Dan Hann, with the Dr. Dane and Mary Louis Miller Foundation. “Thank Joe Thallemer who made all this possible when Rich (Hadid of K21 Foundation) was reaching out trying to find a place to put pickleball courts in Warsaw and Joe was very gracious and open minded about it. We’re very excited and this is going to be a fun, great asset to the community. This whole park looks fantastic now.”
“Part of our role in the community is to keep building to be active at every age level,” said Hadid. “With the real growth of pickleball nationally and here locally we were also excited our board was really excited to help build the very first permanent pickleball courts and hope the growth continues and we’re asked to grow pickleball in our community, that means more people will be out active and live that longer healthier life we hope for everybody. We’re thrilled to be part of this community and be part of this project.”
The playground equipment, purchased with a grant through Sinclair Recreation LLC, was also dedicated. The grant allowed the parks department to install $90,000 worth of equipment. The new equipment is state of the art and features at least six slides, climbing apparatus and more.
“This is all part of the five-year master plan and the equipment is state of the art. I’m proud,” said Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer. “The park board should take the credit with the leadership of staff … we’re seeing this turned into a significant park on the south side of Warsaw. Look at the picklballers, 16 people on one tennis court.”
Thallemer expressed appreciation to both K21 Foundatoon and the Miller Foundation for their support on the pickleball courts. “They renovated both sides. One pure tennis, the other four pickleball on the previous tennis court. When I pulled in there wasn’t a parking space,” said Thallemer.
He also credited the park board and “their vision through the five-year plan … create quite a vision down here. Every year we get to pick off one of these cool projects,” the mayor said.
“Kelly Park is a bit of a hidden gem in the Warsaw Parks system, but we don’t want it to be the ‘best kept secret in Warsaw’ anymore,” said Larry Plummer, parks department superintendent, in a release from K21 Foundation. “The parks department has worked hard to renovate the park in the past years, adding a sledding hill and new playground equipment, as well as a larger parking area for visitors. The addition of the pickleball courts adds to the amenities available to our community through our local parks.”