Dalton Parks and Recreation Department Director Mike Miller says there are about 40 people in Dalton who regularly play pickleball, a paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton and pingpong.
But he expects that number to grow.
"It's a fast-growing sport, probably the fastest growing racquet sport," he said.
One thing holding the sport back locally, he said, is the lack of dedicated places to play. He said players must use temporary courts at local churches, Lakeshore Park and the Mack Gaston Community Center.
But that could change soon.
The Dalton City Council voted 4-0 on Monday to approve a $28,500 contract with Signature Tennis Courts of Woodstock to convert the two tennis courts at Brookwood Park to pickleball courts.
"We think this will help the sport expand here," Miller said.
He noted that residents of the Brookwood neighborhood still have plenty of places to play tennis, including nearby Lakeshore Park which has 20 courts.
Deb Wells, coordinator of the North Georgia Tennis Association, said the U.S. Tennis Association's Georgia League has held its state championship in Dalton for more than a decade.
"We have 400, 500 players come to town every year, and basically everything we do is at Lakeshore," she said. "Sometimes we use (Dalton High School), but 99% of the time it's Lakeshore."
Wells said local tennis players are happy that the courts at Brookwood will become pickleball courts.
"It's a great place for it," she said, adding that many tennis players also play pickleball.
Ray Nichols, who was taking his morning walk at Brookwood Park on Tuesday, said the tennis courts there are used pretty often.
"I take a walk out here most every morning before it gets too warm," he said. "I see them being used. Not every day, but pretty often."
"I don't play tennis, so this won't affect me personally," he said. "But if there's enough people that play pickleball here, then maybe they should get a place to play, too."
City Council member Annalee Harlan noted that in the space it takes to hold two tennis courts, the city can install six pickleball courts.
"The ongoing maintenance costs will be the same, so this is going to be a one-time cost," she said.
Council members also voted 4-0 to:
• Approve a request by Jose M. Gonzalez to rezone 9.2 acres at Dawnville Road and Pleasant Grove Drive to neighborhood commercial from medium-density, single-family residential. Officials said Gonzalez plans an event center and meeting space for the property.
• Approve an agreement with Lowery and Associates of Cartersville to perform a topographic survey of Threadmill Road and Conway Street. The cost of the survey is not to exceed $4,900. The survey is part of a plan to address flooding and failing pipes in the area.
• Approve an agreement with Richards and Associates of Chatsworth to perform a topographic survey for a possible detention pond to control flooding and excessive runoff in the area around Covie Ridge and Winton Drive. The cost of the study is not to exceed $9,600.
The council also recognized May 18 as Isaiah Mack Day, in honor of the NFL player and Whitfield County native.
The council also recognized May as Historic Preservation Month, and the Historic Preservation Commission presented Caleb Carnes with its annual award for outstanding historic preservation project for the restoration of the rear facade at 230 N. Hamilton St.