PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Panama City residents wanting to play tennis or pickleball, have to travel to neighboring cities. As of Thursday, they can stay closer to home.
Community members were able to hit the new tennis and pickleball courts at the Oakland Terrace Park on Thursday morning.
Some have been waiting nearly a year for a place to play.
“Thought it was embarrassing that Panama City, which is trying to be the premier city in the panhandle, didn’t have a single public tennis court and so it’s great to have them back and open and playable,” Panama City resident Jeffrey Portnoy said.
Courts are open for public use from dawn to 10 p.m.
“The great thing about these courts specifically is these are lighted courts so morning, noon, and night, you can come and enjoy pickleball and tennis,” Panama City Commissioner Josh Street said.
These $150,000 courts are temporary. City officials want to build permanent ones at the park, but they don’t have the funding.
“As we go and we actually make the permanent repairs to this project over the next few years, we’ll be able to take these courts and move them to other courts so we can continue to establish new tennis as well as new pickleball courts for years to come,” Street said.
The grid system is not your typical clay or hard courts. For frequent players, getting used to the courts can be seen as a fun challenge.
“It takes some getting used to the bounces is a little bit different and so the good part of that is you had to concentrate on watching the ball and what it was going to do,” Portnoy said.
City officials are hoping the courts will encourage people to get outdoors.
“We live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet so everyone wants to enjoy the outdoors and this is just one way to do this and the city of Panama City is committed to making sure that we make the best quality of life for the people that live here,” Street said.
City staff will maintain the courts and be in charge of locking them up at night.