Tennis expansion bids come to City Council

By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The city’s tennis players are set to get expanded space for matches.
The Tupelo City Council is slated to vote at its regular meeting tonight on bids for a six-court expansion at Rob Leake City Park on Joyner Avenue. Four of the courts will be constructed to accommodate the bubble that will no longer be needed to cover the park’s pool when the new aquatic center is completed next winter.
Worsham Brothers of Corinth delivered the lowest of eight bids at $544,000, said Tupelo Parks and Recreation director Don Lewis. JBHM Architects has confirmed the bids meet the specifications for project, which includes a parking lot.
The project, which will be built on a former baseball field located close to the city cemetery, was budgeted for $540,000, Lewis said. The Tupelo Tennis Association has committed $4,000 to cover the additional cost of the project.
The park’s current 10 tennis courts stay busy. Tennis league play brings more than 16,000 players to the park each year. Thousands more take advantage of the courts routinely for unscheduled matches and lessons.
“Tennis is big in this area,” Lewis said.
When the new courts are completed, Tupelo will have 16 courts and one training court available. The Joyner park currently hosts high school and regional college tournaments.
“This will make us competitive for more tournaments,” Lewis said.
Construction is slated to begin in mid-January and is projected to finish in August. The bubble will go up over the tennis courts sometime next fall, after the heater and blower are relocated from Rob Leake pool.
The indoor tennis courts will likely have a small use fee, Lewis told the city council at a work session last week. Park and recreation officials are weighing options between a staffed facility open set hours or an unstaffed facility with longer hours to allow greater access for a membership fee.
In a separate project, parks and recreation is working with Philips Day-Brite and Tupelo Water and Light to install lighting for the new courts. Day-Brite is making the materials available at its cost for the project.
michaela.morris@journalinc.com