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Southampton Tennis Club is asking Town to share $350,000 toward court rebuild costs

 


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The (tennis) ball is now on the city's playing field after executives at the Southampton Tennis Club (STC) appealed to councilors for $175,000 to cover half the costs of resurfacing eight of the fifteen outdated tennis courts.

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At the general committee meeting on June 10, council members referred the request for consideration during the 2025 Business Plan/Budget discussions this fall, with the understanding that the project is not included in the already approved 10-year plan.

Noting that STC has one of the largest tennis facilities in Ontario and has grown to 1,500 members since its founding in 1956, board chairman Dave Stevens called for help paying for improvements and building on its long-standing partnership with the municipality.

Since 1956, the STC had operated and maintained courses for eight months of the year, offering lessons and club activities, and they are open to the public when not in use by the club.

Seven of the 15 courts are operated and maintained by STC volunteers on land leased from the city to provide recreational programming to the local community, Stevens said, adding that any tennis-related costs are covered by memberships, not by the city's recreation budget the city.

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While the STC is proud of its heritage and history of operational independence that is getting old, it is nonsense, Stevens said, adding that after 70 years, greater capital expenditure is needed to rebuild the country from the ground up.

Stevens said the courses, including the five on Lake St. that are the centerpiece of the club, are important to everyone who lives, works and plays in Saugeen Shores year-round.
He said the cracked, deteriorating condition of three courts and outdated facilities pose a safety risk due to their deteriorating conditions, and modernization is needed to meet community expectations.

Stevens said that with a strict repair program, including resurfacing every ten years, this complete rebuild is a generational cost and the STC has a reserve of $250.00 and faces significant required capital expenditure over the next five years, especially for the reconstruction of courts.
We expect a net deficit of $346,000 in 2028. This shortfall includes the estimated $350,000 repair costs, the construction repair costs of the Lake St. properties, Stevens said, acknowledging they have lofty goals that require work.

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Regarding the club's fundraising initiatives, Stevens introduced STC board vice chairman Mike Smith, who said they do not want the city to pay the full cost, but respectfully requested a 50/50 partnership split, with the city would pay $175,000.

He specified a fundraising goal of $100,000 with contributions from STC members and fundraising events, grants and corporate sponsorships, a $20,000 target for corporate donations, and grants from the Ontario Trillium Fund and Tennis Canada.

Smith said that with a dedicated and loyal membership of people who love the STC, they are confident they can raise $100,000.
We kicked off our member fundraising on May 19 and will run through August 23, 2025. I'm happy to report at this early stage that we've raised $20,000 to date, he said, making STC added values ​​and he looks forward to continuing his 68-year relationship. with the City.

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Vice Deputy Mayor Mike Myatt said the vibrant club provides a good service to the community as the city has no municipal courts.

In response to questions about Myatt's fee, board member Wendy Buckley said the family membership fee is $400; it's $190 for a single, and they have weekly, monthly, and seasonal rates. She said they pay students to teach classes and there is a paid clubhouse staff of 10 teenagers.
Now that the two tennis courts at Lakeshore Recreation in Port Elgin have been converted to pickleball courts, Buckley said they are realistically the only ones offering courts to Saugeen Shores members.

While we suggest you have a membership to play and for all the activities we do, there are often times when the courts are empty and people who don't have a membership can go through (the courts), Buckley said, adding that they leave the nets up. eight months a year, so everyone can play.

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Southampton Ward County. Cheryl Grace talked about her children's involvement in the wonderful STC program and had the staff confirm that free youth and adult classes are included in the membership fee.

That's one of the things I've always noticed about this club and one of its strengths, said the very egalitarian Grace, adding that people are attracted to Southampton to holiday and invest because of the club.

Southampton Ward County. John Divinski, who noted that his wife had become lifelong friends at the club, said it would be a shame if the courts deteriorated beyond repair.

Mayor Luke Charbonneau said the City Council will have to set priorities and make a difficult decision during 2025 budget discussions this fall.
That could mean finding more revenue or moving something so we can move it in, he said, urging STC to continue fundraising efforts to find as much money as possible.

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