MARTINEZ, Ga. (WJBF) – Columbia County commissioners voted unanimously at a recent meeting to purchase Petersburg Racquet Club for $1.5 million through the Capital Improvement Fund.
The current owners have had the club for 25 years.
“Turning this facility into a true racquet-type facility that’s operated by the county and open to the public, anybody can use,” said Scott Johnson, the Columbia County Manager. “Having clay courts that are a little bit of an anomaly in public facilities, having hard courts – you got something for people of all ages to be able to enjoy.”
The pool will be swapped out for pickleball courts. Johnson said the cost of repairing and maintaining it would be too much.
“With the rise of pickleball players and pickleball in Columbia County, we’re getting a lot of demand and requests for courts,” he said.
Some club members we spoke to don’t love this decision, but a public pool in the county is a topic that’s been discussed before.
“Columbia County for a long time has contemplated whether we need a pool in Columbia County, some sort of public type swim facility,” Johnson said. “[I] actually took that to the voters many years ago, and it was rejected by the voters pretty handily.”
Other club members say the new courts, and other improvements like making them wheel-chair accessible, could be just what the club needs.
“This club is probably one of the nicest clubs not only in the southeast but in the country,” said Phillip Lavender, a member at PRC. “We’ve got ten clay courts and ten hard courts, and with the addition of pickleball courts, I think it would make this club a better place.”
However – they are concerned about possible membership changes, and the county is still working that out.
The club is expected to become part of Columbia County Parks and Rec by May 1st, and county leaders hope for renovations to be completed by the end of the year.