OPINION — Pickleball and SPLOST: Is this a proper reason to vote for a multi-million-dollar sales tax?


OPINION — I have appreciated [former County] Commissioner [Steve] Brown’s recent set of articles reminding us of the humble origins of Peachtree City from its first stop light to its first cart path speed bump. This history is a reminder that we are part of something special in Peachtree City in particular and Fayette County overall.

One thing I love about our community is the differing opinions and open dialog about issues. Unfortunately, in the face of a new SPLOST intiative, the Peachtree City government has taken the opposite approach with its recent attempt to limit the participation of its citizens. As a citizen who believes in open communication and transparent dialog, I bring an issue regarding the coming SPLOST vote.

First, as Commissioner Brown has correctly noted, it is rather unusual for the Peachtree City government on its Facebook account to campaign for the initiative. Some may say they are providing information for an upcoming vote, but the pleadings of the Fayette Pickleball Association may qualify as more than information.

In the past tradition there may have been cost savings ideas such as courts painted in such a way that could be tennis or pickleball, similar to gyms that house basketball and volleyball. It may not be a perfect solution, but meets the needs of the many residents in Peachtree City.

The Pickleballers on Facebook would assure us, that its “only a penny,” however, Peachtree City’s share is more than 6 billion pennies. In these inflationary times, is it a better option to not continue the tax and put money back in the pockets of Fayette County residents?

I have supported SPLOST and eSPLOST on these pages for a long time as we were meeting needs of the community. However, I have to ask if Pickleball is our greatest need based on information broadcast, have we crossed from meeting the needs of the community to filling the wants of the few?

Neil Sullivan

Peachtree City, Ga.


  1. “… Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.” – Juvenal.

  2. I really don’t have a dog in this hunt – I don’t play pickleball but don’t dislike it either. But I can tell you this – almost every time I go by the pickleball courts off Log House Road, at the Braelinn Rec Center, they are being used and often times full. So I don’t think this is just a “pet project” for the Mayor…..and I say this not as a fan of the mayor, I consider myself more of a critic of her. But call a spade a spade – pickleball seems to be catching on and gaining in popularity all over the place. Multiple other cities are building courts. My 2 cents – if we’re going to build courts, let’s build them under a roof (not enclosed – just covered) so that we can host tournaments here and bring in outside revenue. I know Opelika or Auburn has this and hosts multiple tournaments…..why not here?

    • Pickleball may be popular, but the Mayor pulled the bathroom project for Battery Way off the SPLOST and put Pickleball on instead. Pet project or not, the optics are not good. As a rule, the city funds sports programs for youth sports. Adults are responsible for funding their own sports . . . like golf. That’s why some are objecting to pickleball in the SPLOST. That, and it’s over $700,000.

      If you’re looking for a place to build courts “under a roof” maybe the Pickleball players should contact the owner of the old K-Mart and suggest an indoor Recreation Park with Pickleboall courts usable year-round, even when it’s raining. I’m thinking: a handful of food vendors in a food court area, benches for spectators, a small walking track around the courts, and outdoor dining on the old Garden Center area.

      You could even have a space to “rent out” racquets and balls for people who want to try it. You could start indoor leagues, and then have tournaments. Of course you’d need to charge a fee for the court usage, but in a climate controlled location, usable year round, I’m sure players would pay.

      • Exactly: let them pay for the improvements. The soccer clubs have to pay a usage fee for the upkeep of the pitches. The baseball clubs have to pay a fee towards the ball fields. Why is this niche sport enjoyed by a handful of albeit passionate boomers the one that all taxpayers have to foot the bill for? Especially when the city has been derelict it its responsibilities to maintain the track at Riley field, which is used by a much larger cross section of the community?

        • Defenestration my thought exactly. When LL had a season residents paid one rate/ while non PTC paid another. How are we goi g to manage that with PTC using its SPLOST $?

          Someone else mentioned tournaments. If we spent the same $700k on improvements to BSC (sorry not using PAC) would we be able to attract tournaments that may result in better financial impact to the community than

  3. If the city is making its best case for SPLOST using pickleball, they need to take a marketing class on knowing your customer. Thanks Hamner114 for the link.

    To me, it’s about supporting our police, fire and city road / path infrastructure that benefits all of us. Pickleball doesn’t come close in priority, but it’s there. We can’t do a line item veto.

    And as a sales tax, it’s paid by non-residents as well as residents. The alternative is funding from increased property taxes.

    Voting in favor of SPLOST.

    • Hi My Cat

      In the earliest days of the SPLOST/ ESPLOST I made the same point. However in the era of Amazon, I am thinking the % of out of county contributions is less than it used to be. All online sales to Fayette residents have sales tax charged.

      My argument isn’t whether we need the funding, my concern is what people think it takes to get votes. Do you remember the push for SPLOST funding for the Arts Center that MrCathy finally called the centerpiece of HIS trillith development.

  4. When people move to a community, they want more than just a house in which to live – they want a place where they can relax, exercise, and engage with others in the community. The Fayette County Pickleball Association has more than 700 due paying members who enjoy playing pickleball. Go to the courts on Log House Road on most any day when the weather is good, and you will find that this is a sport that has male and female enthusiasts of all ages. There are reasons why this is the fastest growing sport in the county.

    I support using our tax dollars to build facilities that will enhance the civic life of the community. I am far too old to play on a playground or swim in our public pools, but I am glad that our parents and have those amenities to enjoy. I usually only attend one concert a year at the Fred, but I am so appreciative of those who have paid taxes over the years so that we have such a wonderful venue to bring people together. I dare say that there is not a single leisure amenity that a majority of people use (except the cart paths) – but as a community we benefit from offering a quality of life that is more than just a collection of houses. Pickleball is one small part of building an environment where people can connect with others – and that is what makes a community feel like home town.

  5. Didn’t we just have a similar situation regarding a running track? A small minority of our citizens wanted to spend the cities tax money on re-surfacing, but the data collection showed that very few people use the track regularly. I believe it ultimately cost our taxpayers close to half million dollars.

    Now we are once again looking at spending money on a personal interest that benefits a few. I will have to think long and hard about this SPLOST request.

      • That’s the point squirrel. Of all the things on the list, the city government chose to post a video of the Pickleballers.

        It’s shouldn’t be a go hunt the list down type of thing. Put a Facebook post for each set of initiatives. Allow comments.

        My point is transparent communication and make sure we know why we should vote for it. Especially if the city is going to directly campaign.

        Take care

        • Neil, you have to admit it was really thoughtful of the squirrel to Try and tell us what we think or how to think.

          I also enjoyed how Pickleball Pete in the video did his best to shame the community into becoming a pickle ball player. We have no room for nonconformists?

  6. The proposed pickleball courts with lights and restrooms account for just over 1% of spend from the $67 million Peachtree City is projected to gain from SPLOST. The remaining 99% will go to supporting our police & fire departments, improving our path system, keeping our roads in good shape, and improving other recreation facilities throughout the town. You can read all about where the money will go here:

    Our community will suffer if SPLOST fails to pass.