City OKs Little Valley Pickleball expansion, Mall Drive shopping center advances

ST. GEORGE – The Little Valley Pickleball Complex is on its way to doubling in size thanks to a unanimous vote by the City Council Thursday approving an agreement with an engineering consulting firm for the further design and development of the facility.

Spectator at Utah State Pickleball Championship tournament held at Little Valley Pickleball Complex, St. George, Utah, November 2014 | Photo by Dan Fowlks, St. George News
Spectator at Utah State Pickleball Championship tournament held at Little Valley Pickleball Complex, St. George, Utah, November 2014 | Photo by Dan Fowlks, St. George News

At least half of the attendees in the gallery of the St. George City Council Chambers Thursday evening were a part of the Southern Utah Pickleball Association who came to witness a vote marking the continued development of the Little Valley Pickleball Complex.

A professional services agreement between the City of St. George and Sunrise Engineering was approved for $107,600. The expansion of the complex will included an additional 12 pickleball courts, expanded restroom and storage facilities, and additional parking.

City Manager Gary Esplin said the project would be a challenge as the site isn’t flat and will need leveling.

“It’s going to be very expensive to build the additional courts …,” Esplin said. “We need to spend the extra money so (the courts) don’t crack up.”

Members of the council noted it would be an expensive endeavor, but pushed the agreement through nonetheless.

If we spend that kind of money, it better be done right,” Councilman Jimmie Hughes said.

Mayor Jon Pike agreed.

“We know its going to be an expensive thing, but we also know having 24 courts there will be extremely valuable,” Pike said.

Fall Brawl Pickleball Tournament, St. George, Utah, Oct. 11, 2014 | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News
Fall Brawl Pickleball Tournament, St. George, Utah, Oct. 11, 2014 | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

Twenty-four courts appears to be a magic number for being able to hold large tournaments, Pike said. It will enable the large tournaments, like those brought by the Huntsman World Senior Games, to take place in a central location, rather than be spread across the city at other courts, he said.

“It’ll be a fantastic venue,” the mayor said.

For the time being however, Esplin said, the city only has the funds for the designs for the expanded facility. RAP tax revenue, which the city wants to apply to the facility’s expansion, may not be available until June or July. Until then, alternative means of funding may need to be considered.

We have to be very careful we don’t get ahead of ourselves,” Esplin said.

Members of the Southern Utah Pickeball Association were pleased to see the project move forward. A spokeswoman for the group told the City Council they were happy with the relationship they and the City have had in developing the pickleball facility over the last five years. The complex was originally intended to be a 24-court facility when complete.

“We feel we are on the precipice of that dream coming true,” the spokeswoman said.

Once the unanimous vote was cast, the crowd burst into applause.

The city hopes to have the expansion completed in time for the Huntsman World Senior Games in October.

Mall Drive shopping center

The City Council also approved a zone change from agricultural zoning to planned development commercial for 16.95 acres of land at 3000 East and Mall Drive.

The newly-zoned commercial property will feature a Lin’s Fresh Market occupying a 50,000-plus square foot building. It and smaller retail buildings will encompass the first phase of the incoming shopping center.

We want to see this project built on this corner,” Esplin said, “because residential on that corner is not going to work with the traffic. Go out there on any day and see what Mall Drive traffic is like …. And so, it is commercial in nature, it meets the general plan.”

The shopping center will be situated 90 feet south of Mall Drive due to a drainage canal that runs along the road. The drainage will be kept open but is anticipated to be landscaped. Due to the set back, the developer asked for additional signage that included a 40-foot tall signage, which is higher than the city usually allows. The request for the additional signage was approved in the zone change.

The 16.97-acre parcel is a part of an overall 106-acre plot that was approved for commercial and medium-density residential zoning in January.

Retrospect Rockfest

A temporary beer license was also aporved by the council for a beer garden at the Retrospect Rockfest event that will be taking place May 8-9, and feature ’80s rock bands Quiet Riot and Warrant, as well as many other bands.

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  • Pheo March 6, 2015 at 11:57 am

    More than enough money for more pickleball (which is great!), but I’ll be heading to Mesquite this weekend for both of my kids’ soccer games against other St. George teams. The annual Presidents Cup tournament featuring Utah soccer teams also has be to held in Mesquite because there aren’t enough fields here.

    How much money is this community losing to Mesquite because we are too cheap to build enough fields?

    • My Evil Twin March 6, 2015 at 1:47 pm

      Apparently, the right palms haven’t been crossed with money yet.

      • Evil Twins Mommy March 6, 2015 at 9:12 pm

        And of course your here with all your negativity and just making another stupid comment as always. get back in your sandbox and be quiet

  • Renee March 6, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Great. More pickleball courts in Little Valley. NOW can we get a traffic signal at Horseman Park Drive and River Rd. to accommodate all those who will be playing in tournaments on those pickleball courts? This addition, along with all of the new residential development in Little Valley, will just increase the already overflowing traffic in that area. We need a traffic signal!

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