A $630,800 facelift for Beaufort’s aging downtown tennis courts at 1105 Bladen St. off Boundary Street is set to begin this week – several months late, but at a lower cost – with work continuing through fall.
The project, said Chuck Atkinson, deputy county administrator of the Beaufort County Division of Development and Recreation, addresses the sport’s popularity in the city and “will serve tennis fans for the next 20 years.”
A contract has been awarded to Talbot Tennis, based in Marietta, Georgia, and will include the demolition of existing hard courts and the installation of completely new surfaces, also hard courts, as well as nets/equipment and fencing/ gates to the popular tennis center in the heart of Beaufort, the county said.
Courtyard lighting will also be improved.
Rain gardens and runoff controls will be added, the county said, to address stormwater issues that have plagued the courts in recent years.
The work comes as the county continues to study additional tennis and pickleball courts as part of a master plan Parks and Recreation is developing.
Last fall, to meet growing demand, four new pickleball courts opened at Shell Point Park and Southside Park in Beaufort. One tennis court in each park has been transformed into two pickleball courts. The remaining tennis court in each park has been redone.
Two pickleball courts were also added to the Bluffton Recreation Center.
Construction of the Beaufort tennis court was originally scheduled to begin last fall.
However, several factors caused the delay, said county spokesman Chris Ophardt. This included attempts to get approval for additional parking, the availability of building materials and labor, and ensuring that the city, the South Carolina Department of Transportation, and the county had no issues with the final plans.
No additional parking will be added due to limitations imposed by the Department of Transportation, Ophardt said. But because there will be fewer parking spaces than the county originally sought, the cost of the project has been reduced from $750,000 to $630,800.
The county is awaiting a demolition permit from the City of Beaufort before construction begins. That permit, Ophardt said, is expected to be issued this week or early next week.
Beaufort County operates approximately 17 public tennis courts at various parks and facilities. Beaufort has seven courts downtown.
This story was originally published April 5, 2022 12:22 p.m.