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We are seeking public comment for the Parks & Recreation Commission May 12, 2022, 3:30 pm, Agenda.

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Do you have any comments regarding agenda items on the May 12, 2022, agenda?

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Wayne Lilley outside Town Limits (registered)
May 10, 2022, 7:38 AM
  • Name
    Wayne Lilley
  • Do you have any comments regarding agenda items on the May 12, 2022, agenda?

    This is Wayne Lilley, currently serving as President of Public Tennis Inc. (PTI), the organization which, some 20 years ago, initiated and advocated for the Chaplin tennis project and partnered with the town to see it through completion. We are humbled by the legacy of PTI's founders and committed to managing affordable and accessible tennis programs for people of all abilities throughout Beaufort County. On HHI, we partner with Island Rec to provide programs to youth, adults, and Special Olympics/Needs athletes.

    I recently read through the HHI master plan for any section mentioning tennis. You may be aware that things have changed quite a bit in recent years. For one thing, Chaplin is busy as the programs we have been managing in recent years for Island Rec have grown tremendously and we expect growth to continue. Our “early tennis introduction” program in the public elementary schools is doing a great job “feeding” the programs at Chaplin. For another, the economic impact of adult/senior tennis events and tourism is large, but these contracts/renewals are threatened as less private courts on HHI are generally available for competitive event usage.

    Moreover, the unprecedented level of participation in HHI public court (Island Rec) programs in recent years and the planned expansion of Chaplin Park provide new opportunities for further growth, for offering a higher service level to the community, and for supporting island tennis events with tourism and economic impact. As the island plans facilities, it is critical that the quantity and types of planned courts match local needs and demographics, as well as event needs and opportunities. To be specific, a mix of hard and soft (“clay”, Har Tru) courts is essential for success in terms of utilization and economic impact. The existing hard courts (6 at Chaplin and 4 at Cordillo) will continue to support youth and young adult programs and play. Additional courts should be mostly, if not all, soft courts (Har Tru), to support all types of play, but in particular, to support HHI’s older local demographic and largely senior event play by visitors who come to the area.

    I hope this is helpful. Happy to back this up with details, numbers, and corroborating experience of similar communities who have successfully built facilities and grown tennis programs in recent years (we have interviewed other public facilities, happy to provide contacts). Soft courts are a maintenance commitment, but as other communities will attest, well worth it in terms of community utilization and economic impact opportunities.

    Thank you,
    Wayne Lilley, President, Public Tennis (wayne@publictennis.org)

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