Ten new pickleball courts, larger restrooms and more accessibility for people with disabilities are some of the improvements that Tom Petty Park may see.
The City of Gainesville’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department and the Wild Spaces & Public Places held an open house Tuesday at Tom Petty Park to discuss the potential designs for the renovation and hear the public’s feedback.
Peter McNiece, a project manager for the Wild Spaces & Public Places program said the addition of 10 pickleball courts would address the high number of players in the city.
“Pickleball is off the charts right now. We’ve got 21 tennis courts in the city of Gainesville parks department and we only have four dedicated pickleball courts. One Facebook page now just hit 1,700 pickleball players, and that’s just here in the city of Gainesville. And that’s just one Facebook group,” McNiece said.
Hollie Greer has been a neighbor of the park for over 22 years. She said 10 new pickleball courts might be too many.
“I think they’re making some nice changes. But I really want to stress that I think that we don’t want too many pickleball courts going into this small community park where homeowners really use it. And we don’t want to lose any trees,” Greer said.
McNiece also said the renovation would include the removal of racquetball courts, which have created security problems. He says the privacy of the space has encouraged activities that they don’t want in the park.
The city has hired the design firm Kimberly Horne to do the project. McNiece expects to get approval for the designs and feedback from the community before breaking ground on the park in the spring of 2024.