Audience560With the Southampton Tennis Club Board of Directors and local dignitaries on court, club members and tennis enthusiasts watched as Southampton Tennis Club Chair and Director of Marketing Kathy Festeryga spoke about the newly reconstructed courts.

Hub Staff

Southampton Tennis Club's (STC) recently reconstructed uptown courts were officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony July 7.

With the club’s Board of Directors stood behind them, Saugeen Shores Mayor Mike Smith and STC Charter Member and Club Director George Calder cut the ribbon before dozens of people at the Thompson Lane courts.

“These were the original two courts and that's all we had when we started in 1956 and now we've got 15 courts and two clubhouses so it’s a pretty big operation,” explained Calder. “There's never been a clubhouse here but interestingly enough there's been tennis courts as far back as about 1920,” he said, adding “That's why it's so important for us to keep this, because this is where it all started.”

STC Chair and Director of Marketing Kathy Festeryga explained that the club now has three locations in Southampton. “There are five more courts at our main location down on Lake Street. That's where we take memberships and that's really the central hub for the club; and then out on South Street we have another eight courts,” she said, adding that typically they just do repairs to any cracks that appear on the courts. “These were beyond crack repairs, they had to be dug up. We didn't want to let them just sink into obscurity.”

Festeryga said the cost of the reconstruction came in close to $100,000 with the majority of the funds being raised by the club. “The town contributed $20,000,” said Festeryga. “It was really nice of them to come through. We've had a long standing relationship with them and we actually lease this land from them and also the land at the beach courts on Lake Street,” she continued.

The remaining money came from the club's reserve funds, said Festeryga, and from their Under the Lights campaign, to which club members have been donating. “We called it Under the Lights because these are the only two courts with lights and in club vernacular everybody knows that means the uptown courts.”

Festeryga said that Ancaster Court Surfaces, who the club has been using for approximately 15 years, had completed the court reconstruction. “They took down the fencing and brought in the heavy equipment and they literally dug up the courts and put down several layers of rocks and asphalt.” Festeryga explained that work began in May and although they were ahead of schedule in the beginning, the wet weather in June caused delays. “We opened for the season on July 1 and they were done the Thursday before,” she said.

“It was no small project and there was quite a large price tag to it,” said Festeryga. “For a seasonal club like ours that's no small undertaking. It’s a huge capital expense.”

Festeryga said that STC has approximately 1,300 members. “At our peak in the late ’80s we were over 1,600 and for a two month club that's a big deal,” she said. “For a summer club we're definitely huge because we only collect fees in July and August. We put up the nets when the weather gets nice and we take them down in the fall when it gets too cold so people can play for free but during the summer months that's when we collect fees because that’s when we have all our programs for round robins and lessons.”

Saugeen Shores Mayor Mike Smith, who was raised in Southampton, said that he himself was a former member of the club and reminisced about playing on the same courts as a child. “I used to go to G.C. Huston and we were looking across here all through early June, waiting for school to get out so we could start to have fun doing things and we'd spend endless hours down here,” he said. “We had a game with eight or nine that we'd play against the [practice] wall.”

Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson congratulated the club and the community “for sustaining something that has been a source of pride for this community for decades.” She added a plea to the young people in attendance. “Carry on this tradition, it’s very, very important.”

RibbonCutting560Saugeen Shores Mayor Mike Smith (left) and Southampton Tennis Club Charter Member, Club Director George Calder cut the ceremonial ribbon to officially open the reconstructed Uptown Courts July 7.

Courts560The newly reconstructed uptown courts on Thompson Lane, Southampton.

George Lisa Thompson MPP Lisa Mayor Mike Smith 560Southampton Tennis Club Charter Member and Club Director George Calder (left) with Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson and Saugeen Shores Mayor Mike Smith at Southampton Tennis Club’s uptown courts July 7.

Construction560Reconstruction saw the old courts dug up and resurfaced.

TennisBalls560Young members of the Southampton Tennis Club getting ready for their usual summer Friday evening game of Winners on the new courts.