Commissioners approve tennis court resurfacing for McCluskey

Published 9:00 am Thursday, February 23, 2023

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to add comments from the Troup County School System Superintendent Brian Shumate.

On Tuesday, the Troup County Board of Commissioners voted to approve a request for funding from parks and recreation to pay for resurfacing the tennis courts at the McCluskey Tennis Center.

The commissioners unanimously approved a contract with the low bidder, Signature Tennis, to resurface six tennis courts at the facility at a total cost of $27,000.

County Manager Eric Mosley said the Troup County School System, which currently extensively uses the center for high school tennis, will pay for half of the project. The Chattahoochee Area Tennis Association (CHATA) has also agreed to contribute $5,000 toward the project.

The remaining $8,500 will be paid using leftover SPLOST IV funds that were set aside for Granger Park improvements.

Parks and Recreation Director Lance Dennis said the combination of tennis popularity booming and the high schools moving toward using the tennis center rather than their own courts have caused the need for additional courts in the near future.

“Our tennis center is just overpopulated,” Dennis said. “It’s full every single day, which is great for our community, but we do allow a lot of play by the high schools. LaGrange does not have a tennis court. Troup High School did not rebuild their tennis court when they took them down. And now there are talks of Callaway having to remove their tennis courts to add on to their indoor facility.”

Tennis Director Bill Champion said that kids play at the center in the afternoons Monday through Friday, with at least 70 kids at a time.

“The new development, the growing of Kia and people moving into this part of the state … all these new additional jobs and housing, the Parks and Rec is one that’s going to catch a lot of that growth,” Champion said, explaining that tennis is booming in Troup County.

Champion said part of their current problem is the lack of tennis courts in the area.

“Callaway Gardens [tennis courts] have closed down. The LaGrange College courts are getting where they need a lot of work. We lost the Troup High courts. We’ll lose Callaway High’s courts for at least a year. Hopefully, they block off some land to rebuild those,” Champion said.

Troup County School System Superintendent Brian Shumate said TCSS plans to replace the courts at both Callaway High School and Troup High School.

“In our master plan at Callaway High School,  the current courts will have to be removed to put in the indoor practice facility, and we have plans to replace three of them in an adjacent location,” said Superintendent Brian Shumate. “While Troup High’s were not replaced initially, the district has plans to replace them in the near future.”

Champion said the main use of the courts are sports programs for kids and recreational use for adults, but he said tennis tournaments also drive tourism.

“We’re losing tennis tournaments. One of the big tournaments that we lost was the tri-level tournament. We did too good of a job on that. We went from 300 to 800 players over nine or 10 years, but we’ve ran out of tennis courts. We lost that bid to Columbus, which has about 200 tennis courts,” Champion said.

Mosley said the county is currently looking at the Rosemont area for a community center and potentially new tennis courts. Up to six courts could be added to Granger Park as well, said Champion.

Champion said that the cost to build an unlit hard court is about $35,000.