Billed as the “Wimbledon of Pickleball” and slated to be one of the biggest pickleball venues in Florida, Pictona at Hollyland Park in Holly Hill is nearing completion for a summer opening.
Through a public-private partnership, the Pickleball Daytona at Holly Hill Club is building 24 courts, eight of which will be known as championship courts that will be covered. The club will operate the not-for-profit facility called Pictona (a contraction of PICkleball + DayTONA). Amenities will include a restaurant, The Kitchen, a clubhouse with locker rooms, a player shop, lounge, and game room for table tennis and other recreational games. Pickleball Daytona at Holly Hill will offer instructional programs for all age groups as well as recreational and competitive play, including tournaments.
The City of Holly Hill will also operate the Senior Activity Center adjacent to the clubhouse. Open to the public, amenities will include a regulation croquet court, three bocce ball courts, two shuffleboard courts, an active living educational program, a healthy eating educational program and fall prevention training.
The not-for-profit pickleball club with key advocates Rainer and Julie Martens, Chuck Mecklem and Doug McClintock met in 2018 with then Mayor John Penny and City Manager Joe Forte to look at the possibility of building courts in Hollyland Park.
With costs a concern, the Martens’ offered to contribute $3 million toward the project if the city would contribute $1 million and provide future maintenance and pay the utility expenses. The deal was made and Pictona became a reality. The club's first public meeting was at Holly Hill City Hall Aug. 29, 2018.
Mayor Chris Via stated the new pickleball project will occupy two thirds of Hollyland Park. Besides the senior and youth center at the park, there also will be community gardens with programs planned for Holly Hill School.
“There will be features other than the 24 pickleball courts,” Mayor Via said. “This project is moving along very nicely. People are excited about it. We have a great partnership. Rainer and Julie Martens are pouring in a lot of their own personal money into this. That’s a great deal for the city. We are very grateful they chose Holly Hill for the home of pickleball.
“It’s the fastest growing sport in America right now,” he said. “Tournaments will be a huge draw. It’s going to be an excellent top-notch facility. First class all the way around. People will come from all over the United States and even Canada to play here. There will be room for spectators.”
The mayor stressed even though pickleball will be the backbone of Hollyland park, it is really all about community and things to do for the community. “The original spirit and intent of Hollyland park is to serve our entire community with recreational activities and things to do,” he said. “That’s going to continue. The whole entire park will get a facelift which is so well needed.”
He added a large field that already exists also will be used for softball, flag football or soccer.
The mission of the Pickleball Daytona at Holly Hill Club per the website is “to provide the residents of the greater Daytona area with the opportunity to play pickleball for health, fellowship, and fun, all at an affordable price. Pickleball Daytona will be open to all people, offer activities to accommodate all age groups and skill levels, and provide opportunities for instruction, recreational play, and competitive play.”
Member dues, profits from the café, sales from the Player Shop, and tournament surpluses will be major sources of revenue for Pictona. Donations and sponsorships to fund Pictona also are needed. So far, there are 550 registered club members.
For more information, visit pickleballdaytona.com.