TBJ: Brier Creek project adds pickleball courts, seeks public funds

Published by Swing on February 14, 2020

Brier Creek tennis facility adds more pickleball and seeks public help.

An effort to put a major tennis facility in Raleigh’s Brier Creek has grown in scope — and added more courts for the fast-growing sport of pickleball.

The project, led by Rob Autry and partner Jason DeGroff, will now include 34 tennis courts and 29 pickleball courts in addition to expanded facilities, with a 30,000-square-foot fitness facility and a 10,000-square-foot gymnasium.

The project had earlier called for 51 tennis courts and a significantly smaller number of pickleball courts. But Autry said the explosive growth of pickleball, a paddle sport played with a Wiffle ball, drove the shift.  Pickleball also reels in a younger demographic. To reflect the switch, the project is now called Swing Racquet + Paddle.

“The more research we did, the sheer number of pickleball players is just impressive,” he says.

And Autry and DeGroff noted that with 34 tennis courts, including one that could seat up to 3,000 spectators, the facility could still team with the Cary Tennis Park (32 courts) and Raleigh’s Millbrook Exchange Park (23) and have plenty of courts for major U.S. Tennis Association events and even NCAA events. USTA league play has been booming, and towns such as Asheville, Wilmington, Winston-Salem, and Durham have added to their tourist base by attracting USTA state and regional championships, and those events are played at multiple facilities.

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