Indoor tennis, pickleball courts proposed

A South Whidbey resident is serving up an idea for a recreation center dedicated to racket sports.

A South Whidbey resident is serving up an idea for a recreation center dedicated to racket sports.

At a South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District meeting last month, Nicholas Terbovich presented the concept of a 90,000-square-foot indoor facility which includes five courts for tennis and an additional five for pickleball. Design plans also show courts for racquetball, squash and shuffleboard, along with two ping pong tables.

While Executive Director Doug Coutts said he knew pickleball was growing on South Whidbey, he wasn’t sure if tennis has been enjoying the same amount of popularity since the district doesn’t manage any courts.

“My initial reaction to this is it looks like an interesting facility,” he said. “I don’t know that it is something specifically that the community has a huge outcry for, but I’m open to discussion of it.”

Commissioner Matt Simms pointed to the results of a 2019 capital projects survey that the district carried out, which ranked a recreation center as the lowest priority of respondents.

Coutts said he did know there was a community need for gymnasiums to support programs such as basketball and dodgeball, which could be lined for other sports such as volleyball, tennis and pickleball.

“I don’t know that the tennis people are going to be too jazzed about playing on a gymnasium floor,” he said. “I don’t know that pickleball (players) are going to love it, but it might be something that they would do in a pinch.”

Commissioner Krista Loercher thought the request from Terbovich seemed redundant when the district is already in the process of submitting grant proposals for outdoor pickleball courts.

Terbovich defended his recreation facility concept, pointing out that high school tennis athletes don’t have a place to practice during the off-season. He added that Saturday drop-in sessions that he has held at the existing seven courts at South Whidbey High School have filled up fast. He claimed there are over 200 tennis players on South Whidbey.

He questioned if the facility, which requires 15 acres, could be built on the 40 acres of land that the parks and rec district acquired a few years ago.

In response, Coutts said that that land, known as the Maxwelton Trails Park, is mostly wetland and was acquired for the purpose of trails.

Coutts said the best thing would be to consider Terbovich’s concept as part of the parks and rec district’s comprehensive plan.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the recreation complex concept is 900 square feet in size. It has since been updated with the correct information.