NEWBURYPORT — After years in such poor condition that they were rarely used, Nock Middle School’s two tennis courts were recently renovated and now it looks like there are two new courts.
As part of a joint project between the Parks Department and the schools, the courts were recently remodeled and refurbished at a cost of about $215,000, according to Steve Bergholm, building and grounds supervisor at the Schools Department.
Most of the money came from a Community Preservation Act grant, with the final $10,000 transferred from a previously completed capital project, he said.
It provides more court space to meet US Tennis Association regulations. In this case, additional running space at the ends and sides of each court.
School officials say Newburyport High School teams can now compete in a more unified way. With three courts at Atkinson Common and two at Nock, a full five-match competition can take place at the same time.
The Nock project will be completed with the installation of a windscreen with a Newburyport logo. It was ordered but did not arrive. The pitches include a board where players can practice on their own, according to school officials.
Huntress Associates of Andover was the designer and Vermont Recreational Surfacing was the contractor.
Mayor Sean Reardon said his administration is committed to improving and maintaining the city’s recreational spaces. He added that the three tennis courts at Atkinson Common are next on the list for repair.
“I’m thrilled to see the two new tennis courts completed at the college,” Reardon said. “I grew up playing on these courts and it was sad to see the state they fell into over the years. When I was a kid my dad, Neil, who was the boys’ tennis coach in high school, used to host his youth tennis camp on these courts every summer.
“I would like to thank the school’s Director of Facilities, Steve Bergholm, for overseeing this project. I also want to recognize residents Jamie Chabot, Rosemary Turgeon, Greg and Mariana Lynch and others who have advocated for these courts,” added Reardon.
Racket sports are experiencing a renaissance in Newburyport.
The Newburyport Tennis Club is reporting an increase in the number of players in its junior programs, and the adult leagues are also attracting significant numbers.
The girls’ high school team won the state title last spring and produced some of the best young players of all time in the community.
Pickleball continues to grow in popularity. Venues with pickleball courts include the Racket Club, Senior/Community Center, Cashman Park, and Perkins Park.
Racket Club officials say they plan to add another court to the three outdoor courts on Low Street. Club owners also plan to improve the social space at the new four-court site.
Due to the approaching winter, many pickleball players have recently moved inside the Racket Club. On Sunday, nearly 140 players filled four courts over multiple sessions, according to certified pickleball instructor Deb DiPietro.