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The City of Chaska has added three new pickleball courts on top of the parking ramp at the SouthWest Transit Station. 

The roof of the parking ramp often sits empty, especially as people continue to work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But now pickleballers will have the option to play on the new courts between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. 

"The popularity of pickleball has exploded, and Chaska like many communities had a need for additional courts," Len Simich, the CEO of SouthWest Transit, told Bring Me The News on Wednesday. 

He noted that the East Creek ramp off Highway 41 just south of Highway 212 had "excess capacity" so "using a small portion of the ramp to install pickleball courts seemed like a good use of the asset."

Simich said the top level of the ramp isn't often used as the ramp was built to accommodate future growth in Carver County, the fastest-growing county in the state. The company estimates the ramp will be full "down the line," noting he initially would have thought in 10 years, but COVID put a dent in SouthWest Transit's projections. 

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"The pickleball courts are nothing more than lines with portable nets. Should we need the parking (which we will during events like the service we provide to the Minnesota State Fair), it’s easy to convert back to parking," Simich said, noting "This is a good example of governmental entities working together to meet a need without adding cost."

The Chaska Community Center says the courts include parking, access to the lobby and bathrooms. The nets are being stored in the blue equipment box on the west side of the parking ramp. 

Pickleball is a popular game in Chaska, with a Facebook group dedicated to players who meet up multiple times per week. The city offers outdoor pickleball courts at Lion's Park and indoor pickleball at the Chaska Community Center. 

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