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It's here to stay! Perham pickleball courts officially open

The Perham Pickleball club hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, Sept. 21 to signify the official opening of the brand-new KLN Pickleball Courts.

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A Perham pickleball player dives to hit the ball at the new courts.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus
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PERHAM — What was once the old, cracked and faded tennis courts of Arvig Park are now bright and brand-new KLN Pickleball Courts, as of the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, Sept. 21. After nearly a year of construction, the eight-court complex — newly painted, fenced off and shielded from the wind — has already seen plenty of traffic and love from area pickleball players.

"The community asset these courts represent is true because the seniors play during the daytime, (and) the young crowds can come at night and play," said Paul Stobie, a member of the Perham Pickleball Club who attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony. "(Pickleball) is great. It's fantastic."

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Representatives of KLN, the main sponsor for the new courts, stand smiling next to the sign.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

People of all ages attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony, their feet pounding on the brand-new courts as they hit a wiffle ball back and forth, bouncing over the net. After about an hour or so of recreation — along with food and beverages — Pickleball Club President Brad Offut and Perham Mayor Tim Meehl gathered attendees to thank them for their contributions.

A large portion of the court's funds were raised through the community, with the main sponsor being KLN. The complex was named for the organization due to its large contribution.

"We're really proud to help the community," said Tina Rasmussen, a KLN company leader. "This (complex) is going to bring in a lot of people from around the area. Maybe they'll come and spend some money downtown and get a bite to eat and perhaps stay overnight. It's just going to be good business, I think, for all of Perham."

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Perham Pickleball President Brad Offut (right) gives a speech prior to the ribbon cutting, with Perham Mayor Tim Meehl to his left.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

For Club President Offut, getting this project off the ground has been a great, yet long process. Seeing the community — like different businesses and organizations — come together to raise funds and support these new courts was very impressive to him. People readily stepped up to support them, and once they had all the donated money in, it was just a matter of getting the court designed and contractors lined up. Everything just went smoothly.

"A lot of credit goes back to the Perham community and them helping us make this possible," Offut said.

On top of being quite impressed with his community, Offut now also has the chance to see the members of his club enjoy the brand-new facilities. He jokes that they're not really even a "club." They're just a group of people who get together and play, and the courts have made that experience even better.

"It's nice to have it open a bit so everyone can play," he said. "And we've had people coming all weekend, all day … and playing. It's nice to see people even beyond our club out here playing and enjoying the facility. So that's been good. It's been rewarding."

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A Perham pickleball player serves the ball at the new courts.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

Perham Pickleball Club member Murray Rafferty agrees with that sentiment.

"This is super," he said. "I like these courts because they're separated with fences and shielded from the wind with the trees. There's room for just about everyone who wants to play with any abilities."

If you're interested in playing pickleball, the club meets to play every morning from around 8:30-11:30 a.m. Everyone of any skill level is welcome to show up, Offut said. If you're interested in learning, the group will likely set up lessons later in the year; a schedule is yet to come. For more information, contact Offut at 507-269-3977.

"I love (pickleball). It's very addictive," player Stobie said. "An exciting sport has come to Perham to stay."

Elizabeth (she/her), 23, graduated with a degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Wisconsin–Stout in 2020. Elizabeth has always had a passion for telling stories about people and specializes in community features, which she uses for her Perham-centered content.
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