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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Home-court advantage: Pickleball courts named after Cottonwood Heights Mayor

Aug 11, 2021 11:37AM ● By Cassie Goff

City Manager Tim Tingey thanks the Peterson family for sharing Mike’s time with the city. (Cassandra Goff/City Journals)

By Cassie Goff | [email protected]

The pickleball courts on the west side of the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center (7500 S. 2700 East) have been named after and dedicated to the currently serving Cottonwood Heights City Mayor. A dedication ribbon cutting of the newly named Michael J. Peterson Pickleball Courts was held on Monday, July 19. 

Various members of the Cottonwood Heights City Council, Cottonwood Heights Parks and Recreation Service Area, Salt Lake County, staff members from the rec center and city, as well as many residents and family members, gathered in support for the ceremony at 5 p.m. 

“This is what it’s all about—the people,” said Mayor Mike Peterson.

Peterson began his career with Salt Lake County in 1971 and spent over 30 years focusing on parks and recreation and community programs. He then spent 15 years serving as the Cottonwood Heights Parks Recreation Service Area Director (2000-2015). He most recently has been serving Cottonwood Heights as councilmember and mayor (2014-2017; 2018-2021). 

“We don’t want to recognize Mike in one aspect but in the culmination of his service and dedication,” said Cottonwood Heights Parks and Recreation Service Area Executive Director Ben Hill. 

Community Services Department Director Holly Yocom relayed gratitude from Salt Lake County. She mentioned how Director of Parks and Recreation Martin Jensen was slated to be speaking at the ceremony, but he was pulled away last minute. However, Jensen was adamant that Peterson know how much he is appreciated as a friend and mentor over decades. 

“We call (Peterson) often when we need help with legislation and communication,” Yocom said echoing Jensen’s sentiment. “We call him to delegate and lead the way. TRCC (Salt Lake County’s Tourism, Recreation, Culture and Convention Program) looks to him because of his history, his experience running a city, and his friendship. He is a key leader in our community.”

Cottonwood Heights Parks and Recreation Service Area Chairperson Bart Hopkin spoke about Peterson’s passion. “He knows what collaboration means,” Hopkin said. 

The pickleball courts were made possible by TRCC funding, which Peterson helped to secure. Hopkin presented Peterson with a 46-ounce jar of pickles and pickleballs in congratulations. 

“If you look around us right now, you see the Rec Center (to the East), you see parks (to the West), and a city building beyond that,” Hopkin pointed out. “If you look around us right now, you see a community. That’s what this man is all about.”

Cottonwood Heights City Manager Tim Tingey said the word to describe Peterson “is commitment. He is dedicated to commitment. He is at the city day in and day out. I feel privileged working with him.”

Tingey also mentioned how Peterson’s commitment isn’t just to his career. “He also has a commitment to his family. Charlene, (Peterson’s wife) thank you for your sacrifice and for allowing us to share his time.” 

Cottonwood Heights Rec Center announced the dedication on their social media later that evening, “Peterson has always been passionate about finding ways to bring the community together with his help the Pickleball Courts were able to be realized. It is an honor to be able to name the courts after him! Thank you Mayor Peterson for everything you have done to help bring people together in such a positive way.” 

Peterson reflected later in the week, “the event was an amazing culmination to the soon to be end of my long career. To be recognized in this way made it extra special. I’ve always felts it’s about the people and continuing to find ways to better serve them. Parks and recreation amenities have always been one of my favorite avenues to serve and enhance the quality of life of our residents.”