13 Aug 2018
When sporting associations near Wilmington started making noises about not endorsing the town for tennis matches, the people of Wilmington knew it was time to act. And fast!
That was 2016: the farming town south-east of Port Augusta had four courts fast falling into disrepair – they were ugly, unsafe and poorly lit (see the ‘before’ pics below). Club numbers started to fall. For a small community that relies on a hub to draw people together, that was really bad news.
Now however, Wilmington has three completely resurfaced, splendidly lit, and splendidly bright-blue tennis courts, with extra markings included for netball games and ‘Fast 4’ and ‘hotshots’ (ie junior) tennis. (See the magnificent ‘after’ photos if you don’t believe us!!)
(NB The existing fourth court wasn’t upgraded – player numbers couldn’t justify it.)
The Wilmington Tennis Club was instrumental in bringing the project to fruition – but so too were the many volunteers who lent their time (and backs) to the effort. (Local clubs and associations also helped out, as did the Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing; we contributed $45,000 under the 2016-17 round of the Community Recreation and Sport Facilities Program.)
The tennis club says the response from townspeople – and visitors – has been terrific.
“The lighting upgrade will increase the club’s capacity to expand its current programs… We’ll be able to offer other clubs in the Southern Flinders Tennis competition the option of playing tennis in the evening, rather than cancelling due to hot weather.
“The club’s membership base will also be increased with social players who want to play in the evenings, without interfering with weekend commitments, and who are not willing to play in competitive matches on hot summer days.”
The icing on the cake? More tennis matches will mean more income for the club, more fundraising opportunities, and an even better community hub!
The technical specifications: Wilmington’s old courts were re-laid with a 30mm layer of hot-mix asphalt, then dressed with an acrylic top-layer. Two new 12-metre light towers were installed, and extra lighting added to the existing towers.