Officials at SuperGames are asking the city of Worthington to ease restrictions that would allow public use of two indoor pickleball courts.

SuperGames, a nonprofit special-events company that provides entertainment equipment, has built two "state-of-the art" pickleball courts at its Worthington warehouse, 6580 Huntley Road, company CEO Gary Moore said.

But recreational uses are not permitted in the district zoned for heavy industrial uses, said Lee Brown, director of planning and building for Worthington.

Worthington City Council considered a rezoning request June 1 and forwarded the issue to the Worthington Municipal Planning Commission for further discussion, Brown said.

The next MPC meeting is scheduled Thursday, June 11, but the rezoning did not appear on the agenda sent June 5. Council would have the ultimate say on a zoning change.

Meanwhile, Moore said, his company might switch gears and apply for a temporary permit through the Worthington Board of Zoning Appeals "and see how it goes for a year or so."

Moore has applied to be on the July 2 BZA meeting agenda to request a temporary-use permit for up to six months for the pickleball courts, according to city spokesperson Anne Brown. He could reapply at the end of that period for a second six months, but he could only do this for one year, she said.

SuperGames, founded 20 years ago, has 38,000 square feet on Huntley Road; the pickleball courts take up 5,000 square feet.

Residents would be allowed to rent the courts by the hour and for events and lessons, Moore said.

Pickleball is a sport similar to tennis or badminton in which two to four players use paddles to knock a perforated ball over a net.

Adam Moore, Gary Moore's son and president of the company, said the idea was generated because his father and his uncle, Tim, like to play pickleball.

"As we were building out the facility (on Huntley Road), we weren't needing that 5,000-square-foot space," Adam Moore said.

He said the courts initially were built for staff members.

Yet, as they saw pickleball grow in popularity and few courts in the area – particularly indoors – they decided to open it to the public.

SuperGames also provides zip lines, mechanical rides, inflatables, carnival games and other attractions for special occasions, Gary Moore said.

Last year, SuperGames moved from another Worthington location, 535 Lakeview Plaza Blvd., where some activities were held on premises, and reopened in September.

Things were moving along until March, when statewide COVID-19 coronavirus restrictions were announced by Gov. Mike DeWine, sidelining the business that relies on larger gatherings, Gary Moore said.

Since then, the facility has been making face shields for Worthington safety forces, doctors and other hospital workers and counter shields for school districts, and it has transported 25,000 pounds of food from the Mid-Ohio Foodbank to the Worthington Resource Pantry, Gary Moore said.

"We've done a lot of things but not a lot of things that make money," he said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary