The Sarasota Pickleball Club (SPC) commenced informally in 2017. There have been several meetings, emails, phone calls, and much more on the part of the initial operating committee: Tom Everitt, Cathy Denault and Carrie Palmer.
The goal of this SPC committee was to work together, on behalf of the pickleball players in Sarasota, to persuade the Sarasota county to provide us with dedicated outdoor pickleball courts – a place where we could play our game on unshared territory. Discussions centered around membership, website, fund raising, club activities and much more as shown in the historical timeline below.
Early spring: Initial meeting of Russell Elefterion and the Sarasota County Parks & Recreation personnel to discuss the forming of the Sarasota Pickleball Club (SPC) to raise money for outdoor dedicated pickleball courts.
November: Meeting held with a small group of pickleball community enthusiasts to discuss various topics: membership, social media awareness, advertising, etc. with the same target to raise funds.
December: Membership list established and some registration.
Early 2018: Membership cards were distributed.
Original group devolved into five members, then three: Tom Everitt, Carrie Palmer and Cathy Denault.
Jan – April: Discussions held regarding website, structure, and formation.
Meeting with Parks and Rec personnel to discuss converting underlying tennis courts to pickleball courts. Idea not supported by County.
March 26-39: Spring break camp for youth held at Colonial Oaks.
April: Club reps provide demo of pickleball to Church of the Palms.
May: Meetings with: County Commissioner Mike Moran, Presentation to the Fresh Start initiative and Sarasota Y to develop Celery Fields.
Summer: Continued meetings with Carolyn Brown, Director of Parks & Rec, Stephen Rodriguez, President & CEO of SANCA (Benderson Park operating company).
September: County Commissioners agree and provide for the development of six courts at Longwood Run Park, initially set for 2020 but now delayed at least until March 2021. Pickleball play begins at the Church of the Palms!
October: Meeting with Lakewood Ranch (LWR) pickleball club re the possibility of working together to persuade builders of new section in LWR (in Sarasota County) to have courts built.
November: Commissioner Moran invites SPC to make presentation to the Parks & Rec Advisory Committee (made in January 19). Meeting with Robarts Arena management to consider using arena for courts.
Volunteer pickleball players survey multiple outdoor tennis courts to determine how extensively they are being used.
Initial meeting with Bobby Jones complex to determine if courts could be included in the rehab plan.
January: Survey continues on outdoor tennis courts.
February: County tennis courts at Fruitville Park, Twin Lakes Park and Siesta Beach are lined for pickleball – dual purpose for tennis and pickleball.
February and March: Meetings held with Nicole Rissler, Director, Parks & Rec to discuss possible sites to develop sports complex for pickleball. Met at Pompano Ave. site to discuss future plans for potential pickleball complex.
March: Presentation made to full County Commission regarding the need for courts and to present the date of the under-utilized tennis courts.
April: Another meeting with Mike Moran, County Commissioner to discuss needs once again.
Summer: Obtained several quotes for the Pompano site.
Obtained quotes for website development.
Beginners weekly coaching commences at the Church of the Palms.
Commissioners approve 12 dedicated courts to be built at Pompano Ave. site as part of the Legacy Trail extension.
November: Met with Nicole Rissler to keep updated on both projects: Longwood Run and Pompano.
December: Bobby Jones meeting to once again discuss courts as part of the rehab plan.
January – May 31, 2020:
Various meetings to discuss the future role of the SPC.
Original Committee Members agree to formalize SPC and potential candidates approached to be on the SPC Board.
Introductory and proposal meeting held with potential candidates.
Candidates agree to take on specific roles of the SPC. SPC Board of Directors nominated and acceptance confirmed for the following:
President: Tom Everitt
Vice President: Russell Young
Secretary: Becky Cecil
Treasurer: Darrel Jordan
Director Communications: Cathy Denault
Director Membership Services: Carrie Palmer
Director at Large: Judith Robertson
Volunteer Committee Members: Ron June, Mike Gardner, Helen Burgess
Covid-19 Strategy: The SPC Board members continue to devote their time to SPC initiatives including membership drive and fund raising. Future activities of the SPC will be communicated directly to the SPC members.