Steamboat’s indoor pickleball center could be complete by next winter with one major fundraising push
Loretta Conway has seen a lot of generosity in regards to raising money for renovations and expansion at the Steamboat Tennis and Pickleball Center. Still, when an anonymous couple presented a $1 million offer, the executive director of Court Sports 4 Life was surprised.
The donors are offering to contribute $1 for every $2 raised, up to $1 million. With the challenge match, suddenly, the idea of having the indoor pickleball facility by next winter is feasible.
“I’m extremely confident,” Conway said. “When you have a challenge match, it really gets everyone’s attention.”
In order to get the steel structure delivered in the spring of 2023, Court Sports 4 Life, the nonprofit that manages the Steamboat Tennis and Pickleball Center, would have to order the building by the end of October. Missing that deadline would put off the project for another year.
With a tight timeline, the nonprofit is aiming to raise $2 million over the next few weeks. Capital Campaign Committee Chair Becky Lamb reports that $500,000 has already been raised toward that goal, meaning just $1.5 million is needed before the end of October.
“After you work on $10.5 (million), $1.5 (million) doesn’t seem that out of the picture,” Conway said.
The quoted cost of the two-phase project to renovate and expand the tennis and pickleball campus was $10.5 million. Conway said that despite rising construction costs, they’ve been able to hold onto that price.
The City of Steamboat Springs, which leases the land at 2500 Pine Grove Road to Court Sports 4 Life for $1 a year, asked the nonprofit to raise at least 70% of the funds and borrow up to 30% of the money needed, or about $3 million.
Having the indoor facility up and running next winter would allow Court Sports 4 Life to start seeing year-round action to make the money not only pay back the loan, but address the maintenance of the land, which they will take over from the city upon completion of phase one.
“We’re going to struggle if we don’t have the 12 indoor going,” Conway said.
Phase one includes outdoor amenities and upgrades, such as new tennis and pickleball courts, a parking area and green space. Phase two will cover the new 12 pickleball courts with a building that will also have a welcome center, pro shop and locker rooms.
Not only does the recent contribution help close the gap for funding on the second phase of the project, but it’s proven to be a source of motivation for more donors.
Conway said a cocktail party is planned for Thursday, Sept. 29, during which she hopes to sway those who have been on the fence.
“We think there’s some possible major donors who have kind of been waiting for us to get to the finish line,” Conway said. “They’ve hinted to us that they’ll help us. We don’t know anything yet.”
Conway also said she expects plenty of small donations to come in thanks to the challenge match, as there have already been many. As of late September, nearly 300 different donors and sponsors have contributed to the capital campaign.
Additionally, there is a Steamboat Springs Chamber Mixer scheduled at the facility for Wednesday, Sept. 28, during which people can see the progress of phase one, and perhaps, start getting excited for phase two.
Anyone wanting ton contribute can donate or pledge at CourtSports4Life.org/Donate.
Conway said phase one has been delayed by weather, but a couple of the tennis and pickleball courts may be ready to hit on by next week.
“All signs are great things are coming,” Conway said.
Shelby Reardon is the assistant editor at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach her, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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