ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - After decades of discussion, the historic Tift Park is the decided location for a new tennis center in Albany.
Dougherty County commissioners decided on the location in a work session Monday.
Clinton Johnson, the Dougherty County Recreation Committee chairperson, said people have been waiting on a project like this.
“The citizens in the community around Tift Park, the supporters of Tift Park, know it’s a historic park and they love it. And they want more things to be there. So, bringing the tennis center and the pickleball courts by the city, turns it into a racket complex, and that’s something that’s been highly anticipated to increase the usage,” said Johnson.
The proposal is a 12-court tennis center adjacent to the Boys & Girls Club at 7th and Jefferson Street.
It will turn into a racket complex if the city, who is working with the county on the project, agrees to fund pickleball courts.
City Commissioner Chad Warbington said giving people that option just makes sense.
“One of the things about 2021 is that pickleball is almost becoming more popular than tennis right now. So, if you want to stay up with the times, it’s important that you think about pickleball in connection with tennis,” explained Warbington.
The Boys & Girls Club owns part of the property and is renovating its pool center. The courts will also be along a trail system. Johnson said all that combined traffic could be good for the economy and have wide appeal.
“What we’re looking at is to outsource the management and let that vendor bring in the national and statewide events that fill our hotels, that fill our restaurants, that get our people to beautiful downtown. And get people from out of town, in town and they can enjoy Albany, Georgia, too,” said Johnson.
Commissioner Warbington agreed it will breathe new life into the area.
“It’s going to be a really nice park. I believe putting in the tennis and pickleball courts is going to draw a lot more citizens to Tift Park. It’s going to really increase the number of visitors that come in and out and make the park a lot more alive and usable for all citizens,” said Warbington.
“We’re just doing our due diligence to make sure that this project happens because we know it’s going to be an asset to our community. Always trying to make it a better place, and the Good Life City a great life city,” Johnson told WALB News 10.
Johnson said the process should take about 18 months to complete.