The Destin City Council voted unanimously Monday to move forward with plans to build four pickleball courts and a bathroom on Indian Bayou Trail between the City Hall Annexation Building and the Public Works Buildings.
City Engineer Ryan Scott updated the council on options to construct the courts within the council’s initial $400,000 budget that was approved in August 2023. Since engineering fees cut into the budget, there was only about $350,000 left for construction.
- Building codes also subsequently required adding restrooms which further reduced funds for courts.
Three design options were presented:
- Option 1 included restrooms and two courts with one covered for $350,000;
- Option 2 had restrooms, four covered courts for $614,000;
- Option 3 provided restrooms, four courts with one covered for $434,000.
The council’s original direction called for four courts with one covered. While Option 3 aligned with that goal, it required $86,000 more than budgeted.
The city Parks and Recreation Committee met Jan. 23 and recommended Option 1 to construct two courts, keep within the initial budget. Discussion also suggested shelving the project until the city’s layout study for municipal properties finishes this spring.
- Scott advised against delaying the pickleball plans since the sports complex area is leased and destined to remain recreational space. Also the study will conclude before pickleball permitting finishes, allowing time to alter plans if needed.
Councilman Jim Bagby motioned to proceed with ‘Option 4’ — building four courts and a bathroom without any covers for now. Additional funding could provide covers later if desired. (Each cover costs $60,000)
- “I was one of the people that strongly supported the covered court,” said Bagby. “But I am not in favor of kicking this can, we’ve kicked it. Let’s build some dang courts.”
Councilman Kevin Schmidt agreed, saying local pickleball players told him the priority is to simply establish courts as soon as possible.
The city estimates construction could begin within five months.