02/09/12 During this week‚Äôs Park Board meeting Sarah Smith presented usage statistics of the Hunter Tennis Complex in Centennial Park.¬† Smith and several volunteer committee members are working on funding a major facelift to the complex.
The summer tennis program began in the early 70‚Äôs under the direction of Mary Beth Hunter.¬† In 1973 there were 150 youth and 80 adults participating.¬† In the 90‚Äôs the program seemed to peak with a combined total of 450 being enrolled.¬† Mary Beth has retired but the program continues with Michael Delp and 5 student instructors supported through the Plymouth Tennis Club.
Projections for 2012 estimate 135 youth and 60 adults.¬† It is estimated that 70 children aged 10 and under will participate this summer in the tennis program.¬† Smith noted that the USTA emphasize this age group for getting started in a sport that can last a lifetime and is great exercise.¬† The team concept emphasized fun, fitness and friends.¬† It‚Äôs estimated that 35 junior high students and 30 high school students will train along with 55 league participants.
Smith‚Äôs statistics included a bit of history, noting the Western Qualifier Tournament which was a 4 day event with 64 entries of 12 to 18 year old girls.¬† The Blueberry Festival Tournament that at its peak have over 300 entries throughout the 3 day weekend and the IHSAA NLC Tournament with 8 high school teams.
The Plymouth High School tennis teams have used the facilities and can boast 11 singles and/or doubles that have gone to the state tournament, getting through sectionals, regional competition, and the semi-state. Smith said, ‚ÄúThis is a good showing since we are a school without an indoor facility.‚ÄĚ¬† The tennis complex is also utilized by the physical education classes at PHS.
The committee is working on a grant from the USTA.¬† Smith noted that they have moved their project from an urgent status to critical status.¬† She also said she would give a facilities report to the park board next month.