Update: LU tennis courts see rise in popularity

Pickleball brings lots of action early four years after massive upgrade

Drone photo of surface painting on the new Lincoln University tennis courts. This is the first drone photo used in the campus newspaper, The Clarion News. October 2017. (photo by Blake Nave)

By Will Goodin/Clarion News

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY — Using $640,000 pooled together from Lincoln University, the Jefferson City Parks and Recreation Department, and the U.S. Tennis Association, the Yvonne Walker Hoard tennis courts were renovated in 2017.

The courts, located at the intersection of Dunklin and Lafayette streets, were fully resurfaced and striped. Prior to the rehabilitation, the courts were beginning to deteriorate beyond useful purpose. In fact, the university was no longer using the facility for athletic purposes.

Lincoln University had a tennis team until 2016, when the program was cut due to a budget restriction. After the team was disbanded, the city parks department looked to revamp the courts.

“They were not very playable so we wanted to do something and fix them up,” said Todd Spalding, the executive director of the Jefferson City Parks and Recreation Department.

Funding for the courts was pulled in from some different places as well. “Lincoln University put in some funds, good grants were received, and JC Parks put in some cash,” said Spalding.

If Lincoln University does not have a tennis team, then who uses the courts? According to Spalding, the courts are rented or reserved by anyone that wishes to use them.

“There’s a community pickleball league that reserves the courts four or five times a year for tournaments,” said Spalding. The rising popularity of pickleball – which can be played on a tennis court – is bringing new action and purpose to the complex.

The upgrade of the tennis courts has done great things for the community as well.

“I think it’s just more activity, having a good facility for people to get involved,” Spalding said. “It’s a good connection between the community and Lincoln University.”

LU Interim President Michael Middleton (right, with shovel) breaks ground on the tennis court renovation project with representatives from LU, Jefferson City Parks, and the U.S. Tennis Association. Sept. 2017. (Photo by Clarion News)

About The Clarion News

Campus and community news produced by journalism students at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo.
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