An idea that has been lobbed around for more than a decade is taking shape on the city’s east side.
The final layer of asphalt has been laid. Trees and landscaping installed. Perimeter fencing is currently going up.
Construction of the Janet Jopke Tennis Facility is nearing completion. The eight courts are scheduled to be painted next spring and a grand opening celebration is planned for May 2019.
The tennis courts are the result of work put in by the Bay Community Tennis Association, a local non-profit organization formed to promote health and fitness in the region. The BCTA has raised nearly $600,000 to build the courts. The majority of the funding came from donations from private citizens, foundations, and other organizations.
In addition to the eight courts, BCTA plans on building a storage and restroom facility on site. Approximately $100,000 has been reserved for ongoing maintenance costs.
BCTA President Joe Ricard is enthusiastic about building a public project somewhere outside of downtown or uptown Bay City.
"This is more than tennis courts. It’s a half-million dollar project on the east side," says Ricard.
"We’re providing recreation opportunities while enhancing another neighborhood."
The eight tennis courts will serve as homecourt for the Central High School boys and girls tennis teams, where Ricard was tennis coach for a number of years. The Dow Bay Area Family YMCA will also provide programming on site. Two of the courts will be handicap-accessible.
Ricard stresses that the Janet Jopke Tennis Facility is a public project , and that the courts are free and open for public use.
"I’m excited," Ricard says.
"We’ve waited so long for this."
The Janet Jopke Tennis Facility is located on Park Avenue at the site of the former Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Bay City.
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