More pickleball courts among improvements at Willow Creek Park thanks to donation to Basin Recreation |

More pickleball courts among improvements at Willow Creek Park thanks to donation to Basin Recreation

Willow Creek Park.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

It’s been a long time coming.

The battle over the available court space at Willow Creek Park between tennis and pickleball players may be coming to a close thanks in large part to a donation from the John C. Kish Foundation. A donation from the foundation is allowing Basin Recreation to fast track and expand a plan to resurface the tennis, pickleball and basketball courts at the park, a project Brian Kadziel, recreation manager for Basin Rec, said wasn’t expected to happen for at least five more years.

“With the John C. Kish Foundation, none of this would’ve been possible at this time,” Kadziel said. “This should fulfill the need of all the pickleball, tennis and basketball players in the community. All three of the boxes we wanted to check have now been checked because of this donation.”

The recent uptick in the popularity of pickleball made the project a pressing matter for Basin Rec.

“We had a system in place already that was supposed to get us by for the next five years. … There was going to be some money in the next five years to repair the courts but until then, just keep re-lining them.” Kadziel said. “Now that problem is taken care of and it satisfies everyone.”

The resurfacing project is scheduled to begin in the coming days and will take approximately three weeks to complete.

The north courts will be used solely for tennis, giving the tennis community two courts that will also be re-lined. The south court is where the biggest changes will be made as the pickleball community will have eight courts to play on, doubling the previous total. They will also be lined to pickleball-specific specification, a point of contention in the past.

The basketball court is also being re-lined and resurfaced with the donation, providing those who use it with a much better experience and alleviating worries about uneven leveling and cracks that may cause injury.

Pickleball has been on the rise in Park City over the past several years, making it a priority for Basin Rec.

Because of a lack of courts, members of the pickleball community were unhappy due to the long wait lines before they could make it onto a court. Not only were there just four courts available, the courts weren’t lined properly, making one side smaller than the other and causing a major stir within the community. “When we first started with everything, pickleball wasn’t in the picture so it made sense to keep the tennis courts as they were. But when pickleball came around and started to grow, we were faced with the tough task of making it fair for everyone until now,” Kadziel said. “Right now it’s about separating two sports, giving them equal share on their own courts and allowing them to both thrive in the community,”

Each year Basin Rec is able to put money towards a project that is in need of improvements or a new area. This year, the plan was to upgrade the playgrounds at Trailside Park because they’ve needed it after 20 years of service. That’s why Kadziel stressed the importance of the donation from the John C Kish Foundation to the community.

“We really want the Basin Recreation community to understand what a donation of this magnitude means to not just us, but them as well,” Kadziel said.

More of a bonus for Kadziel and Basin Rec was that the donation came with zero strings attached. It was simply made available for Basin Rec to choose what to do with. There were no stipulations as to what the money could be used for, thus allowing Basin Rec to zero in on where the money would be best served.

“They wanted us to enhance operations in whichever way we saw fit, being very supportive of what we chose to do with the money,” Kadziel said. “The donation allowed us to decide what was best for the Basin Recreation community and with the popularity of pickleball still growing, and that community understanding the situation, it was a no-brainer to enhance Willow Creek.”

John C. Kish and Frank “Jack” Plev founded the John C. Kish Foundation, based in Henderson, Nevada. It specializes in helping organizations in multiple areas, primarily ones of health, animal welfare, education and performing arts.

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