The wait is over. The pickleball courts at the Longboat Key Club are finally here.
After being in the works for about two years, Longboat Key Club hosted a ribbon-cutting for the new pickleball courts on Dec. 1.
These courts, at first, caused some controversy because neighboring residents were worried about the sound level of the sport. After a sound study was conducted and the town offered its support on the project, the plans for the courts were approved at the town’s Planning and Zoning Board meeting held on Nov. 15, 2022.
“We are just trying to be good neighbors and do everything that we needed to do to mitigate the sound,” said Briana Francois, the director of tennis at LBKC. “That's why we have barriers up. It's pretty much that almost little sound can be heard.”
Construction began with redoing the pickleball courts next to Marina Bay. Then, LBKC built four more courts in the Tennis Gardens.
The club now has eight new pickleball courts because of the high demand to play the sport, said Francois.
In order to play on the courts, you must be a member of LBKC or a guest staying at the resort. LBKC offers pickleball lessons and different clinics for all members to be able to learn at their own pace.
“It was a demand because we have so many people that play pickleball,” said Francois. “I believe that our courts will honestly help alleviate the stress that the town of Longboat is receiving on the pickleball courts at Bayfront Park.”
On Dec. 15, LBKC will hold its Winterfest Tennis and Pickleball tournament with Peyton Stearns playing. Stearns was a No. 1 collegiate tennis player and is ranked in the top 50 in the Women’s Tennis Association Tour.
Avid LBKC pickleball players joined the ribbon-cutting to celebrate the opportunity to play more. Chamber president Kim Verreault and Chamber ambassadors Irina Bronstein and Deanna Mesghali joined as well. The first event on the courts was a fundraiser for Toys For Tots, which was held after the ribbon cutting.
“We have been getting so many emails and phone calls from people asking, ‘When are those courts opening up?’” said Francois. “They're super excited that we listen to them as members, but also about how nice the courts are. The members are so deserving of these beautiful courts. It feels amazing to finally see that we have totally fulfilled the needs of our community.”
Petra Rivera is the Longboat community reporter. She holds a bachelor’s degree of journalism with an emphasis on reporting and writing from the University of Missouri. Previously, she was a food and drink writer for Vox magazine as well as a reporter for the Columbia Missourian.