Uncertain future for pickleball at East Naples Community Park

Reporter: Ashley French
Published: Updated:
People playing pickleball in Collier County. Credit: WINK News

Collier County commissioners are thinking of terminating their contract with the Naples Pickleball Center at East Naples Community Park.

That means they may be looking for new vendors. The county had claimed the old vendor was causing difficulties with past payments.

Meanwhile, the park has become quite the prime location for one of America’s fastest-growing sports.

“I’ve seen the growth of pickleball exponentially here in Naples,” said Dominic Catalano.

Catalano is a pickleball player who has enjoyed playing and coaching at the Veterans Community Park for several years. During that time he’s also seen the popularity surrounding Pickleball at East Naples Community Park grow exponentially. 

“This is the pickleball center of the world,” said Catalano. “The county really loves pickleball. They’ve been behind it from day one with the expansion to over 60 courts here and to now hosting the U.S. Open as what they call the biggest pickleball party in the world every year.”

He’s seen the park go through a bunch of changes over the years. A business called Pickleball Enterprises LLC operates the pickleball facilities at East Naples Community Park, and its agreement with the county could be in jeopardy.

Collier County has given notice they may terminate the agreement based on past payment issues.

Bob Strommen, the owner of Pickleball Enterprise LLC reached out to us in response to the county weighing to possibility of terminating its agreement with his business:

“This is not about Bob Strommen this is about our staff and the commitment that our staff has made to grow this facility from what it was to be in actually the pickleball capital of the world. We’ve supported 30 charities, and we’ve raised $170,000 to charities in the last 18 months, which is not a contractual obligation,” said Strommen, “how hard our staff has worked their commitment to excellence and exceed expectations, and it’s just a sad statement that someone’s convenience is being catered to without the impact of the unplanned consequences of such a decision.” 

Collier County commissioners will discuss the agreement at Tuesday’s commission meeting.

In a previous version of this story Catalano had been identified as having taught pickelball at East Naples Community Park. He says he never taught there.

You can read an update about this story here: Collier County commissioners decide to keep contract with Naples Pickleball Center.

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