Taking Pickleball to the next level in Scio Township

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The plan for Wolverine Pickleball is moving in the right direction as the unique sports location is now looking to expand indoor and outdoor.

At the Jan. 11 Scio Township Board meeting, Wolverine Pickleball received a Conditional Zoning for a piece of land on Metty Road that will change it from Limited Industrial to Composite Commercial. It plans to construct a new building.

However, the zoning change was also needed because as part of the plan they also want to offer outdoor recreation opportunities.

The land being rezoned is a 5.67 acre portion of property located on the west side of Metty Road, north of Ann Arbor Arms. The township board granted the request.

A map graphic of the planned area for Wolverine Pickleball. site map from Scio Township

The township planning commission gave its recommendation of the plan back in November.

As some background, the report to the township board said, “The applicant previously received conditional use approval under the I-1 zoning classification (2019) for private indoor recreation uses to include two (2) indoor sport buildings for pickleball with the addition of restaurant/bar space, a patio with outdoor games and a retail area (no more than 10% of the gross floor area).”

The plan was adjusted and now, according to the board report, “the applicant is now requesting conditional rezoning of the property from I-1 to C-4 to allow construction of one (1) indoor sport building for pickleball with the addition of lounge/bar space. Also, outdoor recreation space for backyard type games (cornhole, giant Jenga, ladder ball, etc.) and four (4) bocce ball courts and six (6) sand volleyball courts. The building will be 37,520 square feet containing 12 pickleball courts, bathroom/locker rooms, storage rooms, pro-shop, office, dining/lounge, warming kitchen and bar space. This project will also include a patio area for dining and outdoor yard games and to watch sand volleyball and bocce ball. This modification to the original conditional use approval is sought to allow for outdoor recreation facilities – backyard games, bocce ball, and sand volleyball. If the conditional rezoning is approved, the applicant will request a land division of the subject parcel.”

A recent look at the vacant lot where Wolverine Pickleball plans to build. photo by Lonnie Huhman

Wolverine is currently located at 119 Jackson Industrial Drive in a converted 8,600 square feet warehouse. It has four indoor pickleball courts, two ping pong tables and a pro shop. The founders/owners are Christy Howden and Leslie White.

Both bring with them a lot of good experience to this venture.

According to the Wolverine Pickleball website bio, Howden “is an avid pickleball player and a familiar presence throughout the Michigan pickleball community. She is a certified coach through the Professional Pickleball Registry, a USA Pickleball member and a pro member of Pickleball Coaching International. Well-versed in all tournament and league software, Christy is a respected tournament director known for running events with precision. Christy and her husband Don live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where they raised two daughters. She holds an MBA and an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan.”

White’s says she “is a pickleball networker extraordinaire, connecting with pickleball community leaders throughout the Midwest. As the Central Michigan District Ambassador for USA Pickleball, she oversees 15 counties and 10 local ambassadors. She is a certified Professional Pickleball Registry coach and a pro member of Pickleball Coaching International. Both Selkirk and Tyrol, leading manufacturers of pickleball gear, sponsor Leslie. She is also a member of the elite Selkirk Amped Team and competes in local, state and national tournaments. Leslie and her husband, Cyril, have raised three daughters in Chelsea, Michigan. An animal lover, Leslie studied Wildlife Conservation at the University of Michigan.”

Wolverine announced its plans on its website, saying, “In 2022, we will break ground on a new facility, and with that, take our community to the next level. Wolverine Pickleball will be on the leading edge of the entertainment/dining trend, with innovative food and drink offerings and additional outdoor activities.”

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