The group behind the fundraising efforts for the planned pickleball and tennis facility in Okotoks is holding an event in town next week.

An open house and fundraiser kickoff for the Okotoks Pickleball and Tennis Centre is being hosted at the Foothills Centennial Centre on May 9 at 6:30 p.m.

Late last year, the Town of Okotoks decided to move forward with plans for a pickleball and tennis facility.

Council considered two locations for the project: the Cavalry FC Regional Fieldhouse in Aldersyde or 10 Chinook Arch Way near Meadow Ridge School on the north side of town.

They decided on the latter, providing the land as well as $2 million for construction.

The Okotoks Pickleball and Tennis Centre will operate as a non-profit and are, in fact, already in operation to raise the remainder of the estimated $10 million construction budget through donations, grants, and sponsorships.

Heather Coonfer, director of the Okotoks Pickleball and Tennis Centre, says the group’s work to secure that funding is well underway, and they’ll be providing a look at their work so far at the open house.

“The fundraising has already started, we’ve got a grant from the Seaman Foundation, and we have a fun opportunity that we’re bringing to the crowd on May 9th, a little bit of excitement to share with them, another donation.”

Fellow director Greg Auld says the event will function largely as an introduction to the group and an update on the work they’ve been doing, as news on the project has been fairly sparse since October of last year.

“The community knows what’s going on, but they don't know any of the details and they’re curious. It’s to let them know that this facility’s coming and we’re going to be looking for donations to the non-profit society so that we can offer pickleball and tennis to the community at the least cost possible.”

Design work is already underway with both indoor and outdoor courts planned.

Attendees of the event will get a bit of a preview of the concepts of what Coonfer describes as a world-class facility.

“It’s a facility like no other in Canada with our vision and layout. That’s what we’re hoping to bring on the 9th, is to show people our vision that we put together with all kinds of pickleball players around the province, just little study groups. There’s no facility like it in all of Canada.”

While the multi-million-dollar budget is nothing to sneeze at, the growing popularity and universal appeal of pickleball is something she anticipates will draw a lot of interest to the project.

“This is a game that everyone can play. Grandparents can play with their grandchildren, it’s a game for all ages. This is the allure of the game, this is why people fall madly in love with the game, because everybody can play it to their ability and take it to where they want to take it to. It’s just an amazing game and the community and the people make it even more amazing.”

The centre’s location is another big plus.

“We’re right in front of two schools with a third on its way, and a big part of our program is to run 10,000 kids through a training program within five years. With those two to three schools being right there, there’s no busing involved, you just walk across the road. The location, thanks to the town, is absolutely perfect,” says Auld.

Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP by contacting