As motorists drive down San Marco Road near the intersection of Bald Eagle Drive and gaze across the street from Marco Fire Rescue Station 50, many may wonder what the large yellow buildings are on the opposite side of the roadway.
The complex comprises the City of Marco Island Racquet Center. The city inherited the aging Racquet Center from Collier County 21 years ago after incorporation. They have upgraded many of the old solid surface courts to the softer clay courts, which takes more maintenance and upkeep, but is a surface of choice. At present there are six clay courts and two hard surface courts, all of which are lighted. There is one additional court which is dedicated to pickleball play.
Residents and guests have a great deal to choose from when they visit the city’s Racquet Center on San Marco Road. Courts include two indoor/air-conditioned racquetball courts, seven outdoor lighted tennis courts, six of which are clay courts and one hard court.
In addition to those courts the city has six lighted outdoor pickleball courts, in addition to one daytime stand-alone “Stadium Court.”
The popularity of pickleball has surged throughout the field of recreation during the two decades, with the demand for its availability seeing a significant rise within Collier County and here on Marco Island. Some of the reasons supporting its increased popularity include the following:
- Many retirement age tennis players of the baby boom generation are making a switch to the slower paced action, while maintaining the love for the participation in a similar sport enjoyed in their younger days.
- Participants enjoy the social aspect of the activity, and enjoy new friendships while working out.
- Less strain on knees and other joints allowing players to enjoy their workout.
- Games progress at a quicker pace, therefore assisting in the more rapid turnover of courts.
- The sport is very affordable to play.
The city has recognized the surge in the popularity of the game and has worked diligently to ensure enthusiasts of both sports are having their interests handled in a balanced and fair manner. However, the demand for court time and parking constraints arise, as the facilities are limited.
At a recent Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee meeting, the board was updated as to upcoming renovations to the existing Pro-Shop /Office facility which will shortly see the restrooms renovated and made ADA compliant. Those facilities were original to the Racquet Center when the county constructed it years before the city assumed responsibility for the Center over two decades ago.
Above the Office/Pro-Shop facilities is a deck where members and guests may enjoy relaxing after either tennis or pickleball or wait for the availability of their court. Reservations for court times, in addition to making to arrangements for lessons in either tennis or pickleball, can be done by calling the Racquet Club at 239-394-5454 or by stopping at the office at the Racquet Center facilities at 1275 San Marco Road across from the fire station.