An ambitious pickleball facility that will dominate the west end of Winter Springs’ Central Winds Park is now set to be a two-phase project due to rising costs.
It would be one of the largest pickleball facilities in the county, hosting the fast-growing sport that utilizes courts resembling modified tennis courts shrunk to the size of a badminton court, using paddleball equipment resembling larger table tennis paddles and a hollow plastic ball similar to a wiffleball.
“Our intention in creating such a wonderful pickleball facility is to create a space for our residents to relax, play pickleball and enjoy our beautiful greenscape in Winter Springs,” Associate City Planner Matthew Linder said.
The City Commission voted to move forward to the planning phase of the court project on July 13 of last year. Since then the city has seen presentations of potential layouts, including an attached two-story events center.
During 2021 the rate of inflation in the United States jumped from 1.4% to 7 % — a 400% increase, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and, according to the National Association of Home Builders, more than 90% of builders reported delays or materials shortages the same year.
“Obviously nothing goes quite the way we plan it, so after our first brush with looking at [expenses], the costs kind of skyrocketed,” Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Len Hartman said.
Linder said that the events center has been shifted to phase two of the project. The newest design of the first phase includes 14 pickleball courts, seating, shade structures, lighting and a restroom facility.
Updates compared to before also include more greenspace.
“I’m pleased to report that this project is well underway,” Linder said. The estimated completion date for phase one is “somewhere in quarter four of this year,” he added.
Asked about whether he has any idea how long the wait will be before phase two begins, Winter Springs City Manager Shawn Boyle said it’s being pushed back, though he doesn’t know how long.
“The building piece we have certainly looked into it, but right now the cost for building anything is elevated,” he said.