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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

One First Street tennis court to be rehabilitated

Township and Elmira Tennis Club to split cost, open facility to public use by summer

Long in need of repair, the tennis facility on First Street in Elmira will be getting an overhaul this spring. One court is to be restored through a partnership between the township and the Elmira Tennis Club.

The resurfaced court will then be available for public use rather than for members only, as has been the case for years.

Woolwich and the club will be splitting the cost, pegged at $39,000. FlexCourt, an Oakville-based playground equipment supplier, will do minor repair work, followed by the installation of a court tile product later this month.

“It’s not just [fixing] the flooring – we’re going to get new nets and posts up,” said Thomas van der Hoff, facilities technical assistant for recreation services at the township. “The courts are going to be open now to the public, but we are going to be locking them each night.”

For the past several decades, the Elmira Tennis Club maintained these tennis courts, which required a paid membership to access. In light of a recent decision to disband, the club will no longer charge membership fees. It may continue to offer informal programming, however.

Having accumulated some $32,000 from membership fees over the years, the club decided the public project would be a good use of the funds.

“We wanted it to be similar to what Conestogo has, free tennis for everybody in their town,” said Joyce Darosa, a member of the Elmira Tennis Club. “I don’t think [the township] would have been interested if we didn’t have a large accumulation of money in our account – it wouldn’t have been in their budget, I don’t think, for this year – but because we do, and we can forward that money to them, it did work.”

If the resurfaced court sees a lot of use, the township may look at renovating more tennis courts in the future.

“Depending on the success and use of the front court, we’re going to look at possibly in a year or a couple of years from now, doing the backcourt as well with an option for pickleball,” said van der Hoff.

Pickleball is a racquet sport that combines elements of ping pong, badminton and tennis. Four standard pickleball courts can fit on one tennis court.

Tennis has long been a part of Elmira life. In 1922, three courts with lights were located on a lot at the corner of Centre and College streets. Around 1958, Fred and Marie Forwell purchased that property for their home. They donated the lot where the tennis courts are currently located on First Street between Gibson Park and John Mahood PS.

Mayor Sandy Shantz welcomed the move, citing it as an excellent way to stay active.

“The township is pleased to partner with the Elmira Tennis Club to offer another opportunity to get active in our community,” said Shantz in a release. “The township is incredibly fortunate to have many dedicated volunteer organizations.  This club has diligently maintained the facilities and promoted the sport of tennis, for all to enjoy.”

The tennis club will continue to assist with regular maintenance of these tennis courts.

Veronica Reiner
Veronica Reinerhttp://www.observerxtra.com
Veronica Reiner is a Reporter Photographer for The Observer.

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