09/07/12 During the Labor Day weekend of 2010, 1984 Plymouth High School graduates Betsy Gee Biederstedt, Dawn Edwards Everidge, and Sarah Guild Smith attended an event at the Mary Beth Hunter Tennis Complex. The three had all been members of the tennis team during their high school years. Shortly after that weekend, they began working together to determine how the tennis courts in Centennial Park could be upgraded.

  The Plymouth Schools lease the courts from the Parks Department for use by students athletic teams and physical education classes. The courts are also open to the Parks Department for summer lessons and leagues that average 150 children and 70 adults and general community use, according to Smith.

  During the September 4 Plymouth School Board meeting, Smith shared the committees’ goals as established so far. Goals include the following: Determine Plymouth Tennis Center customer requirements, evaluate area tennis centers to determine optimal design, work with the Parks Board to coordinate project, work with USTA (United States Tennis Association) to optimize tennis facility development, and help to obtain project funding through USTA and the local and the tennis communities. Smith said, “We hope this will be a public-private project.”

  Smith said the optimal number of courts would be ten and the cost could reach between $913,000 and $1 million.

  The courts currently in use were constructed in 1973. Since that time, they have been resurfaced three times with the last being in 2011. New lights were added in 1988.

  Smith said Plymouth used to host NLC conferences as well as various USTA tournaments, but the courts are now in disrepair and not suitable for tournament play. Smith said the tennis program has generated 33 college scholarships and over 25 years of consecutive IHSAA Sectional championships.

She shared several photographs showing the cracks that are in the courts along with rusted fencing and deteriorated posts. Other slides showed perspective sites where courts could be built within the land owned by either the Parks Department or the Plymouth Schools.

Smith indicated that those on the committee have approached the Parks Board on about six occasions. They received permission to research the current and future needs for tennis facilities.

PCSC Superintendent Daniel Tyree asked Smith if the Parks Board has included new tennis facilities in their Master Plan. Although it is currently not in the plan, steps are being taken to ask the Parks Board to consider adding it on their 5-year plan, Smith said.

Carol Anders Correspondent