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Club eyes indoor tennis complex

Published on

Dave Paul 

The Sarnia Tennis Club is thinking expansion.

Buoyed by a steady membership increase, the century-old club is looking at a number of possible developments, including an indoor facility, although everything is in the preliminary stages, said club vice president Clive Barry,

Talks are under way with city hall staff for possible expansion at either the club’s current site or a new location.

The club is located behind the county courthouse, between Christina Street, Errol Road and Rosedale Avenue.

In an odd arrangement, half of its tennis courts are located in Brentwood Park, which is city land, and the other half – as well as the clubhouse and parking lot – are on provincial land.

Having two “landlords” complicates things and has the club looking at a number of scenarios.

If expansion – and particularly the construction of an indoor facility – is to occur, remaining at the current site is a possibility, though that would probably require the province ceding land to the city.

The club could also move entirely into Brentwood Park, though that might be a tight fit and would require a new access lane off Rosedale.

Other possible locations include Clearwater Park (behind the YMCA) and Mike Weir Park in Bright’s Grove.

Barry, an engineer, said he is advocating the club at least explore the feasibility of an indoor or indoor-outdoor complex, one enclosed in the winter but “opened up” in warmer months.

“There aren’t many (indoor facilities) outside of Toronto,” said Barry.

“There is one in Windsor” that some local players use, he said. “But for kids trying to train year-round, it’s a difficult situation. Traveling in the winter can be horrendous.”

The Sarnia Tennis Club has nearly 400 members, and almost a quarter of them are junior-age players.

Barry said the cost and funding for a new complex are still undetermined. He added a survey of the membership would be undertaken to get reaction to any proposals.

Barry added an indoor facility might draw players from surrounding areas, such as Chatham-Kent. And he envisions it as a multi-sport facility, with pickleball prominently featured.

Pickleball, which is rapidly growing in popularity, especially among seniors, is similar to tennis but played with a perforated, whiffle-like ball on a much smaller court.

Barry added the former Dow Recreation Centre near the Wellington Street and Modeland Road has tennis courts – including indoor ones.

But he said he doesn’t believe it would be an affordable option for the club.

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