No Longer a Pickle: Pickleball Courts are Coming to Destin!

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City of Destin Mayor and TBy Tamara Leigh Young, PhD, Public Information Manager for the World’s Luckiest Fishing Village

This month’s “reel” talk from the World’s Luckiest Fishing Village finds Mayor Wagner and me talking about pickleball. If you’d like to submit a question or topic, please email tyoung@cityofdestin.com.

TY: With the recent 6-0 vote by City Council to start the design and permit process for set pickleball courts, it looks like it’s finally going to happen! Local champions of the sport have been vocal, loyal and ready for this for years. Where will the courts be located?

BW: Pickleball talks in Destin have been going on since early 2018. Since being on council 18 months ago, I have been putting countless hours into researching where our pickleball facility should be located. So, with the latest vote in August, I am very excited to announce we have chosen to place our city Pickleball facility next to the Destin City Annex building and dog park.

TY: Great location! I’ve had a blast playing pickleball at the Destin Community Center, and I know there are a few other places in town offering chances to play sporadically as physical surroundings allow, but it will be nice to have dedicated space to this. How many courts will there be, and when do you reasonably except them to be ready?

BW: Yes, we have had hybrid pickleball courts in Destin for a few years now, and with continuous community support, we are excited to build a permanent facility designated for the sport of pickleball. For those who do not know, this land had originally been designed for a tennis complex back in the 2000s but was shelved. So now in 2023, we are converting these plans to pickleball courts with a budget of $400,000 that was earmarked in the 2021 fiscal year. With this money, our goal is to build four USA Pickleball-approved courts, with shade covering, and a bathroom facility to support both the pickleball players and the dog park patrons right next door. Our timeline is to have this facility open and ready by spring 2024.

TY: This is one of those City wins for both locals and visitors, with potentials that go far beyond even new, great pickleball courts. What do you envision?

BW: I believe projects that grow organically from the citizens always turn into a huge win-win for everyone in our community. Also included in our budget is the prep work for the future expansion of this area. With over 2.5 acres of land, I encourage our residents to dream big to make this area a one-of-a-kind sports facility! We could expand the pickleball facility and look for other sports and recreation ideas missing in Destin. Personally, I am biased toward building a beginner skate park for our kids, as I grew up skating in Destin. But, I want to hear everyone’s ideas. Because, if we plan right we should have the room to fit more pickleball courts, a skate park, food trucks and some green space for everyone to enjoy!

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