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Tampa Pickleball Crew completes eight courts at an Ybor City warehouse

Greeting people at the front desk for a tour of the new facility are co-founders Dené Williamson, Susan Forsyth, Jennifer Plummer and Kayla Goldman.
Greeting people at the front desk for a tour of the new facility are co-founders Dené Williamson, Susan Forsyth, Jennifer Plummer and Kayla Goldman.

A project that began in March aimed at promoting pickleball and enhancing an Ybor City neighborhood has come to fruition with the completion of eight courts at a warehouse off East Second Avenue.


The Tampa Pickleball Crew’s co-founders plan for a grand opening in early January and are accepting memberships at various levels. The open-air facility is in a 38,000-square-foot

warehouse with room to expand up to six courts sometime in 2024.


“They’re doing an awesome job and it’s looking great,” said Darryl Shaw, a developer and entrepreneur who leases the building to the Crew. “I’ve been looking for ways to activate Ybor City with good content.”


Susan Forsyth and Alex Williamson warm up on one of the eight courts.
Susan Forsyth and Alex Williamson warm up on one of the eight courts.

The Crew’s co-owners, who have organized numerous tournaments and pickleball events since forming last spring, are Kayla Goldman, Susan Forsyth, Dené Williamson and Jennifer

Plummer.


They expressed their gratitude for Shaw’s backing.


“We all feel fortunate to be working with him,” Williamson said. “He saw our vision and has been so supportive of everything we have done.”


The sentiment was mutual for Shaw: “These ladies are so passionate. They’re so engaged and they want to do it the right way.”


The co-founders are not exactly high-level players, but they relish one another’s company and share the same enthusiasm for the company and its new home.


“I love that we did it together,” Plummer said. “There were a lot of ups and downs, but we persevered.”


Co-founders and Alex Williamson, who interned with the Crew this past summer, stand in front of their logo at the warehouse in Ybor City.
Co-founders and Alex Williamson, who interned with the Crew this past summer, stand in front of their logo at the warehouse in Ybor City.

Helping in the construction process was Williamson’s nephew Alex Williamson, a 20-year-old college student from Kansas City who did a summer internship with the Crew.


“It’s really cool,” he said one day last week as the co-founders provided tours of

the new facility.


“The most exciting part of this whole project is that we have been fortunate to be

surrounded by crazy people in this community,” said Dené Williamson, alluding to the positive feedback they have received from passersby.


Aside from the new courts, there is some seating provided, with benches near the areas of play and some chairs in the outlying areas. There also is a unique design on a wall near one of the courts. Plummer and Forsyth designed a smiley face on a board of damaged pickleballs.


Susan Forsyth and Jennifer Plummer stand in front of the smiley face art they designed.
Susan Forsyth and Jennifer Plummer stand in front of the smiley face art they designed.

As for future tournaments and possibly leagues, that remains contingent on feedback from members.


“We are open,” Plummer said. “We can access the needs and wants of our members and create our calendar of events from there.”


Now that the courts are finished, Goldman said, “The next chapter begins.”


By Steve Lee

Times Total Media Correspondent

Photos by Steve Lee

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