A Jewel in the Desert Opens Up to Great Fanfare

It was nearly three years in the making, but Pecos Park in south Phoenix near Ahwatukee opened up recently and showcased its magnificent facility featuring 16 dedicated pickleball courts, all fully equipped with LED flood lamps for night action. Play will be open to the public every day of the week from 6am – 10pm making the $1 million complex one of the largest and soon to be, one of the most popular in the state of Arizona.

For Ahwatukee resident and current USAPA Regional Ambassador of Education for the Southwest, Steve Manolis, the ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening of Pecos Park stirred up many emotions in one of the sports leading advocates. “I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep.” Manolis fought back tears and was visibly moved when addressing the crowd of nearly 200 pickleball enthusiasts on a bright sunny morning in the desert.

Other Ahwatukee residents Joan Gillespie, Denise Smith and Dutch Vander Laan shared in the excitement of the event and recalled their efforts in bringing the pickleball facility to life in Pecos Park. “We went to a lot of Parks and Recreation Commission meetings,” recalled Gillespie. “They would listen to what we had to say and, over time would listen a little bit more and eventually they approved it.”

USAPA President Jack Thomas was on hand as was local city Councilman Sal DiCiccio who, before taking to the courts for a little play himself told the gathered crowd that the courts are “an investment in the community and also an investment in the people of the area.”

With nearby Tempe due to open up 12 new courts and other local communities embarking on similar new construction, Thomas commented that the East Valley is a “destination place for pickleball players everywhere.”

Right now, Pecos Park is the place to play in the East Valley thanks to many determined and enthusiastic pickleball players.

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