Tennis courts at Fox Pond still main site

Jan. 01, 2013 @ 04:47 PM

The tennis courts at Fox Pond Park are looking good, but that hasn’t always been the case.

How much wear and tear they get in the future could depend on development of other sites. For the foreseeable future, they’re continued to be the top non-private option.

“They’re the only tennis courts available for the public and the schools,” said George Watkins, longtime member of the Henderson-Vance County Recreation and Parks Commission.

The Fox Pond Park tennis courts play an essential role in the Vance County Schools’ athletic program. Both Northern Vance High School and Southern Vance High School use the courts.

Over time, the courts had gotten run down. In August, they were approved for resurfacing and repair. The Recreation and Parks Commission received more than $4,100 each from the county board of commissioners and the city council as part of the $16,715 needed to do the job. The balance was funded by the Recreation Donation account.

Some members of the public have noticed the difference. In a letter to the editor of The Dispatch, Bob McCarthy of Henderson wrote: “I was so impressed with all the improvements that have taken place since my children were growing up. My grandson is taking tennis lessons there with the 4-H program and the resurfaced tennis courts look great.”

In addition to the courts, Fox Pond Park offers softball and baseball fields, a playground, horseshoes, shuffleboard, volleyball, picnic areas, nature trails and concessions.

Since Fox Pond was dedicated in 1976, private efforts have supplemented the sometimes inadequate city and county efforts to maintain and improve the park. Benches were installed on the tennis courts in a project done by Scouts. Job Corps students and staff, as well as church groups, have participated in periodic cleanup efforts.

When a $75,000 grant was received for renovations and a connector trail to the nearby Aycock Recreation Complex, private donations and volunteer in-kind service covered the required $25,000 match without any cost to local governments.

“We raised considerably more than the $25,000,” Watkins said.

Henderson resident Tommy Riddle, among others, has urged the county commissioners to appropriate funds to build tennis courts at the county’s two public high schools.

In a parallel effort, Daniel Young has advocated refurbishing unused facilities at E.M. Rollins Elementary School and the Chestnut Street Park for tennis use.

So far, neither school-based nor neighborhood tennis courts have been approved.

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