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Serving Up Opportunity: City Increases Competition-ready Pickleball Courts

City unveils Manzano Mesa Pickleball Complex Expansion on Eve of Big Tournament.
May 17, 2024

The City is celebrating the completion of the Phase 1 expansion at the Manzano Mesa Pickleball Complex. The project resurfaced all 18 existing courts, plus added 15 new courts (including a Championship Court), lights, shade, and much-needed restrooms. Due to supply issues, crews are still working to complete the restrooms and should be done with them soon. The expansion will help meet the local demand for courts as well as improve the City’s position to host major local and regional tournaments. The first major event at the newly improved facility, the 2nd annual “Hang with the Pros Tournament,” will be held May 23-27.

“This expanded complex further solidifies Albuquerque’s spot as a top location for pickleball in the Southwest and a top destination for sports tourism.” said Mayor Tim Keller. “We continue to create ideal spaces for local and visiting families by investing in our parks and facilities.”

“This is going to have a huge economic impact in the City’s southeast neighborhoods,” said State Senator Mimi Stewart. “This expansion is the result of great community support and we look forward to seeing pickleball grow in Albuquerque as we invest more in our robust outdoor recreation opportunities. 

The Parks and Recreation Department (PRD) and PRO Sports NM will co-sponsor the 2024 “Hang with the Pros” Pro-Am Pickleball Tournament, which kicks off on Thursday, May 23 and runs through Monday, May 27. The second year of this special type of tournament will feature 4 professional pickleball players: Kamryn Blackwood, Hunter & Yates Johnson, and Parris Todd. Three of the pros are from New Mexico (Blackwood, Johnson brothers). Along with amateur tournament play that includes significant prize money, the pros will be conducting special clinics and demonstrations, and will be mingling with the players and public. PRD also unveiled unique New Mexico red and green pickleball paddles, which will be available at the tournament.

“The kitchens on our new courts are open,” said PRD Director Dave Simon. “Red, green, or Christmas, Albuquerque is cooking with pickleball.

Phase 1 of the Manzano Mesa expansion cost $3.5 million. Funding sources included City GO Bonds, State Capital Outlay, and other City funds. Overall, the State Legislature invested $2.1 million and the City invested $1.4 million.  The City appreciates the support of eight state legislators who contributed funds:  Sen. Mimi Stewart, Sen. Gregg Schmedes, Sen. Bill Tallman, Sen. Martin Hickey, Sen. Harold Pope, Rep. Meredith Dixon, Rep. Debbie Sariñana, and Rep. Liz Thomson.

“The pickleball community worked diligently for many years to advocate for this facility,” said District 9 City Councilor Renee Grout. “I hope we’ve created something that they are proud of and will enjoy for many years to come.”

The City is also planning a Phase 2 of the facility expansion.  Phase 2 will include a community building to support tournaments and facility management, six more pickleball courts (which will bring the total to 39), and landscaping.

PRD currently offers 45 dedicated pickleball courts with an additional 56 courts lined for both tennis and pickleball. There are now pickleball courts in every quadrant of the City.