MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — Rick LaBouef spends his mornings playing pickleball at Halpatiokee Park in Martin County.
"I actually drive down here from St. Lucie County. The fact that you have this many courts here makes it that you have enough people that it makes it worthwhile to come," LaBouef said.
He and other park-goers agree they'd like to see just as many pickleball courts at other Martin County parks too.
"Particularly like Langford Park," Martin County resident Susan Foster added. "I think they can use some more pickleball courts over there."
It's input that the Martin County Parks and Recreation Department is looking for as it seeks to improve park facilities and programs amid a growing number of residents.
"It's all about the residents and park users," Kevin Kirwin, Martin County Parks and Recreation deputy director, said. "It's their parks, so we want to hear what they want."
They held a public workshop Wednesday night at the Blake Library so residents could share their ideas. The community's feedback is essential for a new master plan.
"Last time that we updated our master plan, pickleball wasn't even thought of," Kirwin said. "We want to look to the future and see what is out there that is on our residents' minds."
Dorthy Kite was eager to voice her opinion as she wants automated external defibrillators added to all county parks.
"It's a great safety net to have," she said. "To me, it's a no-brainer to have that mounted and there for anybody, a jogger, a bike rider, anybody who needs it," she said.
Other residents said their focus is on amenities.
"I will tell you what I think is missing in Martin County are a lot of exercise places for adults outside," parkgoer Sallie Bartos said. "There's a great one at Sandsprit. It's sort of like an adult playground."
The county has also created an online public forum so residents who couldn't attend the meeting can still share their ideas. It will be available for the next couple of months.
The master plan is expected to be presented to the county commissioners sometime this fall.