Bentonville: Tennis, anyone? City plans for southwest complex with eight to 12 courts
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.
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.
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.