The Holly Hill City Commission will vote on Tuesday on a request to begin formal negotiations with Pictona founders on the possible 24-job expansion of the pickleball complex, just eight months after it closed. opening
Rainer and Julie Martens, a couple from Ormond Beach, are seeking $ 200,000 in financial aid from the city to cover some of the costs of adding 24 additional lighted pickleball courts outside of the Pictona complex.
The couple’s proposal includes adding a 49th track suitable for championship games and stands for up to 1,600 spectators. The championship field could also be used throughout the city as a performing arts venue for concerts and other special events.
City Manager Joe Forte said that if the Martens proceed with their proposed Phase II expansion to Pictona, he would like to explore the feasibility of turning the championship into an all-weather indoor facility.
The Martens have offered to spend $ 1.2 million of their own money on the expansion project and plan to also apply to Volusia County for $ 400,000 in funding from the ECHO grant program.
“We believe that the Pictona expansion would build on the success of Phase One,” said Rainer Martens.
Expansion could bring more tournaments
“The extra courses and championship field would allow us to host more national and international tournaments, as well as smaller tournaments,” said Martens. “Maybe we could organize tournaments once a month. We currently limit it to only twice a year, because we don’t want to deprive our members of their regular play here.”
Pictona has 625 members on Monday, far more than Martens’ original goals for the complex. The fee for individuals to use the pickleball courts and clubhouse facilities in Pictona is $ 300 per year for those who purchase an annual membership. Discounts are offered to those who purchase a family membership. Individual passes can also be purchased for $ 30 per month or $ 10 per day.
While most of the members are from the Volusia-Flagler area, some are even from Jacksonville.
The Martens invested more than $ 4 million to build Pictona’s “first phase” on 12 acres of Holly Hill’s 15 acre Hollyland Park at 1060 Ridgewood Ave, across the street from City Hall. The complex opened last July. It includes eight indoor courts, 16 floodlit outdoor courts, facilities for other recreational sports including croquet, bocce, horseshoe toss and table tennis, as well as a communal garden and a building with a members-only clubhouse, a multi-purpose room, a restaurant called “The Kitchen” and a senior activity center.
The restaurant and senior activity center are open to the general public and do not require Pictona membership.
The $ 6.2 million initial phase was built with funding from both the city, which raised $ 1.2 million in CRA money, and Volusia County, which provided an ECHO grant of $ 400,000. Donations and sponsorships raised an additional $ 50,000.
The Martens and the Pictona nonprofit at Holly Hill Pickleball Club run Pictona, which is owned by the city.
The complex hosted its first regional pickleball tournament last fall, drawing 650 players from multiple states.
Pictona plans to host the International Federation of Pickleball’s fourth annual Bainbridge Cup tournament from April 7-11, a five-day event expected to attract players from 27 countries.
“We hope for at least 600 players, it could be higher,” said Sarah Lockett, Pictona’s general manager.
The complex will also host the USA Pickleball Association’s Atlantic South Regional Tournament for four days in October.
Expanding Pictona would also allow the complex to offer more pickleball classes, including area school classes, Rainer Martens said.
It would also make Pictona the second largest pickleball complex in Florida. The Pickleball Academy of Southwest Florida in Naples has 64 jobs, according to the website.
“I think there are many opportunities shine a national light on Holly Hill, ”City Manager Joe Forte said of the Martens’ proposal to expand Pictona.
The additional pickleball courts would be built on the south side of Hollyland Park, including the park’s last remaining baseball field.
The latest plan follows Holly Hill Y’s offer scrapped
The Martens approached Holly Hill in December with an offer to take over the operation of the urban Holly Hill YMCA facility adjacent to City Hall. That offer would include a $ 1 million investment by the couple to improve and expand the fitness center and to convert the outdoor pool into a heated pool for year-round use.
Under that plan, the Holly Hill YMCA would have become an extension of Pictona that could offer more recreational sports, as well as group fitness classes and use of the pool. The proposal even included the potential renovation of the long enclosed underground pedestrian tunnel that used to allow students from the old Holly Hill Elementary School that stood where the Holly Hill YMCA now stands to safely cross Ridgewood Avenue into Hollyland Park.
Which proposal was withdrawn before the city committee could vote on it in January after the Martens determined there was no way for them to keep membership fees as low as the significant discount the Volusia-Flagler YMCA family offered residents of Holly Hill.
“When we discussed the YMCA proposal with them, the thought of Pictona Phase II was also part of their plan,” Forte said.
“Now it looks like they will move on with Phase II of Pictona a little faster,” he said. “But nothing is a foregone conclusion. At the moment, the municipal manager is asking the city committee for approval to negotiate with the Martens.”
Rainer Martens said he and his wife do not currently have Plan B if the city turned down their proposed Phase II expansion to Pictona.
“If the city turned down our proposal, I think we just won’t build it and stick with what we have,” he said.
The Martens are the retired former owners of a sports book publishing company in Illinois. Their vision is to promote physical fitness and wellness activities through Pictona, which operates as a non-profit organization. Pickleball is a fast-growing recreational sport for all ages, but is especially popular with seniors because it is less strenuous than other racket sports.
The City Commission meeting will be held at the City Commission Chamber in City Hall, 1065 Ridgewood Ave., from 6 p.m.
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