If you're a big fan of pickles you might get excited to hear about a restaurant called "Pickle Palace" coming to Cedar Rapids. If you aren't a fan of pickles, when you hear "Pickle Palace" you might mark that down as a place you'll never visit. No matter how you feel about these little green fruits, Pickle Palace isn't a magical place where they serve pickles galore. It is a palace that is going to combine food AND the growing sport of pickleball. This is something I am extremely excited about.

If you've never heard of or seen pickleball before, the easiest way to explain it is that it's tennis, badminton, and ping-pong all wrapped into one. This sport has seen a massive surge in popularity in the past 3 years. According to Pickleheads, the sport has grown by 158.6% since 2020. It's been dubbed as one of America's fastest-growing sports in 2023. If you've never seen Pickleball before, check out this video on what the game looks like.

One of the best things about Pickleball is that you can play this game at any age, as long as your body will let you. They play Pickleball on senior nights at YMCAs across the country on a regular basis and this was also a popular activity when I was in college. My friends and I used to play on a weekly basis and many of us have continued to play 14 years later.

Combine this growing sport with a restaurant and it appears as if this is something kind of like top golf. You can show up and enjoy all of the things a normal restaurant would have to offer and you can enjoy some Pickleball at the same time.

According to KCRG, "Pickle Palace is under construction as part of Phase One of the First and First West development." Pickle Palace is being built in the same area where the current construction is underway on a new Big Grove Brewery location. Two other buildings are being constructed as well and those will be for mixed-use. The city originally had plans to place a casino in this area but those plans fell through.

KCRG reports this 3-phase project began in May of last year, will cost up to 100 million dollars, and is scheduled to be completed by 2030. Ron Corbett is the Vice President of Economic Development and he told KCRG the city never gave up after trying to develop this area.

The city and the developers never gave up and although 15 years is a long time they never gave up and to finally see this development it should be exciting for everyone not just me.

Who wants to call dibs on the first match at the new Pickle Palace with me? I'm getting older so take it easy on me, please.

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