MARTINEZ, Ga. (WJBF) – Although some renovations are still ongoing since Columbia County purchased the Petersburg Racquet Club about a month ago, it is now open for public play.

Tennis players we spoke to are excited about the changes. 

“Right now, all that they have done are just positive improvements for it,” said Diana Crislip.

Along with the pool being gone to make way for pickleball courts, sidewalks and stairways have been repaired, lighting has been added, storm drains are updated and fencing has been extended.

“This facility is I think thirty years old, it needed some renovation and some things done,” said Dennis Hodges, the Deputy Director of Community Services for Columbia County. “And that’s what we’ve immediately identified, the things that need to be rectified immediately and jumped on those.”

There are also plans to make the complex wheelchair accessible.

“It’s gonna take probably six to eight months to get it to where our standard is,” Hodges said.

Memberships are still available, but the hard tennis courts are open for public play while the clay courts require reservations.

“My concern was about membership and play-ability, but when I came the grounds look great, the courts look nice, a lot of updates that it needed so I was very pleased,” said Tammy Williamson, a racquet club member.

County leaders are working on a fee schedule for the clay courts, which will be addressed at upcoming commissioners’ meetings.

The proposed fees are $350 per year for Columbia County residents, $275 for Columbia County residents 55 and older, and $500 per year for non-Columbia County residents.

“I think all the tennis players are really gonna enjoy it. The players who play on a regular basis will still have to pay dues to play on the clay courts – which, as we get older we love our clay courts, but I think once they work out all the kinks and everything it’s gonna be great,” said Joan Steinberg, another racquet club member.

All of the renovations and pickleball courts are expected to be completed by early 2024.