02/09/12 During this week’s 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’s under the direction of Mary Beth Hunter.  In 1973 there were 150 youth and 80 adults participating.  In the 90’s 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’s estimated that 35 junior high students and 30 high school students will train along with 55 league participants.

Smith’s 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, “This is a good showing since we are a school without an indoor facility.”  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.