An area off Southwest 4th Street in Cape Coral will transform into 32 pickleball courts, 12 tennis courts, lighting, and covered seats.
The project aims to attract more people to the City of Cape Coral.
While the space has been empty for years, council members believe the property has the potential to bring more tourism and business to the area.
After a little more work is done, the new Lake Kennedy Racquet Center project will be underway. The project has been discussed for years, but the city finally approved a bid plan.
Construction for the courts, seating, and lighting is expected to begin in March.
“Initially, it was only going to be 16 pickleball, court and I had pushed for all 32 because the opportunities there to bring in local, regional, possibly national tournaments, is high,” councilmember Tom Hayden for Cape Coral City Council District 3, said.
Councilmember Hayden sees the empty lot’s potential. More than 4,800,000 people play pickleball in the United States, according to a recent study by the sports and fitness industry association. The sport continues growing in popularity and could give the city a unique attraction for players in Southwest Florida and around the country.
“You can pretty much go to any park that has pickleball courts and notice that they’re always full, there’s always people waiting to play. So we knew the need was there,” Hayden said.
But an $11 million price tag is steep.
Some neighbors were upset about the upcoming construction, but others were excited about another facility to connect and have fun with their families.
“Watching this place come alive with players with families, that’s probably most important to me,” Hayden said.
The exact date to break ground isn’t set yet, but once workers begin, it’ll take at least 16 months to finish the job.