Ben­tonville: Ten­nis, any­one?

City plans for south­west com­plex with eight to 12 courts

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - MELISSA GUTE

BEN­TONVILLE — A ten­nis court com­plex is com­ing to the city’s south­west, bal­anc­ing the dis­tri­bu­tion of courts in the city and pro­vid­ing more play­ing space for com­peti­tors.

The com­plex will have eight to 12 courts and be built on the north­east cor­ner of Cit­i­zens Park, ac­cord­ing to David Wright, parks and re­cre­ation di­rec­tor.

Cit­i­zens Park con­sists of 24 acres that sur­round the Ben­tonville Com­mu­nity Cen­ter.

City Coun­cil took the first step at Tues­day’s meet­ing for the project by hir­ing CEI En­gi­neer­ing for $34,000 to do the de­sign.

The con­tract is for the de­sign, not the con­struc­tion, Wright said. The de­signs will pro­vide a “solid en­gi­neers es­ti­mate” on what it will take to build, which will al­low city of­fi­cials to cre­ate an ac­cu­rate bud­get needed to pro­ceed, he said.

Im­pact fees — one time fees placed on de­vel­op­ers and used for growth-re­lated projects — will be used to pay for the com­plex. Wright said he hopes con­struc­tion could take place in 2018.

The 12-court ten­nis com­plex at Me­mo­rial Park can get crowded, es­pe­cially in the evenings and on week­ends, said John Doohan, a ten­nis pro with the Parks and Re­cre­ation Depart­ment.

The depart­ment part­ners with Ozark Ten­nis Academy to teach its ten­nis pro­gram­ming, ac­cord­ing to its web­site.

Doohan was work­ing with ten­nis player Brit­tany Matthews of Rogers early Tues­day af­ter­noon.

“Any­thing to get more peo­ple in­volved in ten­nis is a good thing for us,” Doohan said about the new courts.

There were 3,253 par­tic­i­pants in the Parks and Re­cre­ation ten­nis pro­gram in 2016, ac­cord­ing to the depart­ment’s an­nual re­port. The pro­gram

has both recre­ational and com­pet­i­tive com­po­nents.

Ozark Ten­nis Academy will of­fi­ci­ate seven United States Ten­nis As­so­ci­a­tion-sanc­tioned com­pet­i­tive tour­na­ments this year, ac­cord­ing to the depart­ment’s web­site.

A mes­sage left with the Ozark Ten­nis Academy wasn’t re­turned be­fore dead­line.

Me­mo­rial Park is in the city’s north­east cor­ner, about six miles from the Com­mu­nity Cen­ter. The sec­ond com­plex will pro­vide an­other amenity in the city’s fastest-grow­ing area ac­cord­ing to build­ing per­mits.

The ten­nis courts are just the next phase in a two-year ef­fort to build out Cit­i­zens Park.

“The devel­op­ment of this park is crit­i­cal in serv­ing the cit­i­zens of south­west Ben­tonville,” David Wright, parks and re­cre­ation di­rec­tor, wrote to City Coun­cil mem­bers.

Sev­eral projects are com­ing to fruition. By the end of this year the 1-mile, hard-sur­face trail around the park should be com­pleted as should a new 14,440-square­foot pav­il­ion on the park’s north­west cor­ner. An ad­di­tional 15 park­ing spa­ces will be built near the pav­il­ion, ac­cord­ing to meet­ing doc­u­ments.

Mor­ri­son Ship­ley is over­see­ing the de­sign of the pav­il­ion and park­ing lot.

Fundrais­ing ef­forts are un­der­way to add an in­clu­sive play­ground.

Mul­ti­pur­pose fields were added to the site’s south­ern end in the fall of 2015. A re­stroom and con­ces­sion fol­lowed in 2016.

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/BEN GOFF • @NWABENGOFF

Chan­dra Suda (from left), 10, Fran­cie Got­tlieb, 10, Laney Isaacs, 6, and Kee­gan Fitzgib­bons, 12, play in a group ac­tiv­ity Thurs­day while par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Ben­tonville Parks & Re­cre­ation Camp Ten­nis pre­sented by Ozark Ten­nis Academy at the Me­mo­rial Park courts in Ben­tonville.

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/BEN GOFF • @NWABENGOFF

Anasazi Cer­vantes, 12, of Ben­tonville re­turns the ball Thurs­day while par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Ben­tonville Parks & Re­cre­ation Ten­nis Academy at the Me­mo­rial Park courts in Ben­tonville.

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