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    St. Luke’s Opens Major Regional Pickleball Center

    JEANETTE MASLONKA-HARTZELL GOT HOOKED on pickleball the second time she played it. “You just fall in love with it,” says the Easton resident. “It challenges you and it lets you challenge other people.”


    Jeanette is one of thousands in the Lehigh Valley who are flocking to the new St. Luke’s SportsPlex. According to Mary Jo “MJ” Cambridge, Director of Operations for St. Luke’s SportsPlex and Pickleball Lehigh Valley, “The best part is watching people connect with others. It is changing people’s lives physically, mentally, and emotionally. What a gift to us all.”


    “Pickleball is this wonderful sport for all ages and abilities. People from all different experience levels are coming together not just to play the sport, but to make friends and become a community at this amazing facility,” adds MJ, a Bethlehem Catholic graduate who worked for the U.S. Tennis Association and has fond memories of playing tennis when the facility was the West End Racquet Club.


    The St. Luke’s SportsPlex on Crackersport Road in Allentown, visible from Route 22 just west of the Route 309 intersection, is poised to become the pickleball mecca of the Northeast, according to MJ, who is hoping to land a Pro Pickleball Association event in 2025.


    St. Luke’s SportsPlex is a 75,000-square-foot facility with 25 indoor courts plus a 22-court, three-acre outdoor area. The indoor courts feature six majestic 8,000-square-foot Amish-built “barrels,” or bays, that sport 12 NBA-quality hardwood pickleball courts, 12 designated hardcourt pickleball courts, plus an event center lined for another indoor court. “This is such a welcoming community, whether you have experience or no experience at all. Everyone is willing to help and play with you and teach you things,” MJ says.


    Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in America over the last four years according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.