Clayland Handball Courts

Posted on May 28, 2019 - 10:31am

The Hamline-Midway Youth Handball Development Committee has been working with St. Paul Parks and Recreation to find a location for handball courts in the City of St. Paul.  Clayland Park was considered due to its proximity to the Midway Y (where the Committee does a significant amount of their programming) and abundance of parks space in close proximity to each other (adjacent Newell and May Parks).  Together, we embarked on a community engagement process to see if Handball could work at Clayland Park and whether it was supported by the community.  

Community Engagement Process:

  • More than 100+ signatures were collected via a petition, in which handball supporters went door to door 
  • On September 19, 2018, an Open House was hosted by HMC and Parks and Rec.  HMC fliered the neighborhood prior to the forum where a demonstration of the game and concept plans were shared. 
  • Since there was a light turnout at the Open House, HMC and Parks and Rec made the decision to notify neighbors of the project and provide an additional opportunity for feedback.  A large laminated sign was posted at the tennis courts, immediately adjacent to the proposed handball courts.  Phone numbers and emails were provided for residents to respond with their feedback and/or concerns. 
  • HMC posted the project design on their website and Facebook page on September 26th, again asking for feedback.  Over the course of 2 weeks, 14 emails or messages were received.  Only one commenter noted their concern about noise/graffiti.  One caller noted a concern about how the wall would impede their view across the park.  The responses with negative concern were responded to by Parks and Rec. 
  • During the community engagement process, it was determined it would be best to turn the courts 90 degrees so that the broad sides of the wall faced East and West. This would leave the narrow side of the wall oriented to the houses closest to the park.  See the revised layout here.
  • At the culmination of community engagement, it was determined development of handball courts at Clayland Park was supported by the community.  The Hamline-Midway Youth Handball Development Committee undertook fundraising efforts for construction.

Questions? Contact Rich Ryan at:  or call 651-246-0596.

Original Proposal:

A committee of the Twin Cities Handball community proposes the introduction of One Wall Outdoor Handball at Clayland Park in the Hamline-Midway area.  The St. Paul Park and Recreation Department endorses this proposal.  Two  back-to-back courts will be built adjacent to the existing tennis courts.  The courts will have a blacktop surface, and each court is 34’ feet long by 20’ feet wide.  A 16’ concrete wall will separate  the courts.  Total area required would be approximately 90 feet by 26 feet and would take up only a relatively small area of existing green space.

  • There is currently nowhere in the surrounding community where our young people can go outside, and simply take a ball and throw and hit it against a wall.
  • Handball is a fast paced, challenging game that requires use of your “hand, heart, and head.”  It provides total fitness.  It can be played at all ability levels and all ages – young and old.  See the video:
  • Unlike other sports, Handball requires minimal equipment: tennis shoes and a rubber ball.  For the “small ball” game, our State and National Handball Associations will donate Handballs and gloves.  Our veteran players will come to the park to teach the sport to anyone interested.
  • To play Outdoor Handball, you do not have to belong to an athletic club or go to a rec center.  Just go to the park and show up! 
  • Outdoor Handball can be organized play; tournaments can be held.  But it does not have to be.  Just go to the courts with a friend and start hitting the ball!  The game has become increasingly popular around the country:  Fargo, ND has just built One Wall courts.
  • A number of  young people growing up in the Hamline Midway area have played and continue to play Handball – both indoors and outdoors.  Handball has proven to be a positive influence in their lives.  Indoor Handball youth groups are already active.  We’re excited about outdoor play for all!

Handball rendering