The History & Future of The Pickleplex ®
of Punta Gorda
PicklePlex of Punta Gorda began as a dream in 2016 and due to the
dedication of the founding volunteer board of Directors became a
reality in June of 2019.
As pickleball came roaring into the Punta Gorda community in 2015,
no one could anticipate what would occur. Eight dedicated courts were
added to Gilchrist Park, but this success brought with it the unintended
consequence of strenuous complaints from those living near the
courts. In fact, four nets have been removed in an effort to mitigate neighborhood complaints.
Land of Opportunity:
There appeared to be no solution to this conundrum until a group of
Pickleball enthusiasts came up with a solution that would make
lemonade from the lemons.
A non-profit organization 501(c)(3) was created in 2017 and the seeds
of a state-of-the-art pickleball facility were planted. Land was secured
via a long-term lease with the Florida SouthWestern State College
resulting in the beautiful facility that you all experience today.
The initial vision was that this facility would be operating on funds
generated by both local and national tournaments. It would have a
significant economic impact on the area making it a win-win for all.
The Plot Thickens:
Phase I, what you see today, was completed in 2019 at a cost of
approximately $800,000. This was achieved through personal loans,
community supporters, and many, many fans of this crazy sport we all
love. The Charlotte County Visitors and Convention Bureau, along
with the City of Punta Gorda, sponsored courts and the City provided
additional support for the utilities connection. They all believed in the
dream; then it came true!
The Unthinkable Happens:
While we were well on our way with making this financial model a
success, IT happened. COVID-19 changed everything.
Our funding model was blown right out of the water. How would we
pay for the ongoing costs of operation? The only solution that would
“keep the lights on” was to move to a membership-based system that
would have membership fees financially supporting this great venue.
It is time:
Now, with some solid experience with the new financial model and
increasing pressure on the existing courts, we believe it is time again
to expand and move forward with Phase II of our vision. Please keep in mind that the existing membership model only covers the day to day operations and existing court maintenance. It was never intended to help with any future expansion efforts.
•An additional 8 courts
•New shaded picnic areas
•The unseen; water and electric supply, water drainage
management, and sewer enhancements.
•Phase IIB will include a building housing concessions, restrooms
and a pro-shop.
This expansion will help keep court wait times to a reasonable period of time and will allow for educational programming and clinics supporting our vision of growing the sport with emphasis on education and healthy lifestyles.
Play it Forward:
This is the place.
This is the time.
And this is your opportunity to help “Play It Forward”.
Please consider a gift that will keep on giving for years and years.
Pickleball is a “fountain of youth” for many of us. It has made us
healthier and enhanced our social lives immensely. Enough said. Lets
all roll up our sleeves and PLAY IT FORWARD for all of the