Friday, October 26, 2012
A steady stream of “thwonks” and squeaking sneakers filled the air Monday afternoon as Georgetown County officially opened the Waccamaw Regional Tennis Center and Stables Park in Litchfield.
Georgetown County Council Chairman Johnny Morant, Council Members Lillie Jean Johnson and Jerry Oakley and county tennis pro David Bromberg gathered in front of the new 3,500-square-foot clubhouse to cut the ribbon and declare the facility open for business.
“It’s an excellent facility and the end result of it is what really means quite a bit to us,” Morant said. “After going through what we’ve gone through, all the endeavor financially and otherwise, to see the end product and that it’s really being utilized, and will continue to be utilized, by adults and all, is really great.”
It was the first chance Waccamaw High School’s boys tennis team got to test out the courts at their new home. The girls team played a match at the facility last week. Both teams have won multiple state titles in the last decade but had to practice and play home matches at Wachesaw and DeBordieu.
“It’s even better than we dreamed,” said Waccamaw boys coach James Brown. “We’ve been waiting for this thing for a long time. For me it’s been 15 years.”
Brown said the facility ranks in the top 20 percent of public facilities in the country, and will help the county attract tournaments.
Waccamaw High’s cross county team was on hand for the ribbon cutting on the other side of the park, where four multi-purpose fields and a concession stand are located. Those fields can be used for soccer, lacrosse and football.
With more than 110 acres at the park, the county has room for an additional 10 courts on the tennis side, and left the area empty just behind the clubhouse for a future stadium court.
The whole project is part of the county’s Capital Improvement Plan, which came about after years of study by a citizens’ group called the Visions committee.
“I think the Visions committee did an excellent job, in terms of including the entire county and not focusing on one area,” Johnson said. “Even though people we would refer to as ‘doubting Thomases,’ when they see this, and especially young people, making use of the facilities, they’ll eventually come on board for the most part.”
The county came up with a fee schedule for the tennis center based on daily, monthly and yearly rates.
Adults 19 and older can pay a $3 daily fee, $30 monthly fee or $250 yearly fee. For seniors 65 and older, the yearly fee is $200.
Two adults in a family can pay a reduced yearly rate of $400.
People 18 and under play free.
Private lessons at the facility are $60 an hour for adults and $50 for juniors, or $90 for 90 minutes for adults and $75 for juniors.
Hourly group lessons are $30 per person for two people, $20 for three and $15 for four.
Ninety-minute group lessons are $45 per person for two people, $30 for three and $22.50 for four.
The Tennis Center is at 302 Gilman Road, off U.S. Highway 17 near the new Dollar store.
By Chris Sokoloski