After hearing citizens ask for more tennis-related amenities, the City of Mission and Mission Parks and Recreation will begin building a new tennis center.
The center will be located on land already owned by the city in Birdwell Park. Currently, it already contains three tennis courts, a practice baseball field, a basketball court, a walking trail and playscapes.
“The idea is to convert that park into a tennis center,” Garza said. “So we’re going to be resurfacing and renovating three of the courts, then adding the thirteen more courts to make it 16.”
The walking trail will remain, and a metal canopy will be put over the basketball court. According to Garza, this complex is an opportunity tennis players in the RGV need to further their skills and gain competition experience.
“One of the courts will be considered a center court, Garza said. “So this is going to be a facility that we’re going to be able to bring in United States Tennis Association (USTA) sanctioned tournaments. These tournaments are where people of all ages compete through the United States Tennis Association.”
The project is estimated to cost $1.8 million, and last week the city had already allocated funds toward the complex’s construction.
“We already have half a million [$500,000] from the General Fund, Garza said. “We have half a million [$500,000] from the Valley Baptist Foundation from a grant we received.”
After applying for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), Garza hoped Mission would receive it.
“We’re very excited about this project,” Garza said. “We’re hoping to break ground either in May or early this summer. Regardless if we get the funds, we’re still going to move forward with the project.”
Brad Benston, the city’s Parks and Recreation Director, went to a meeting held in Austin, where it was announced that Mission would be receiving $500,000 from the TPWD.
This will be added to the budget for the tennis center.
“We really want to thank Chuy Hinojosa,” Garza said. “He was supportive and instrumental in getting this for us, so we’re grateful.”
Garza said last year, the city conducted a survey having to do with a ten year park master plan. It was meant to engage with the populous and find out what additions they would like to see in Mission parks.
“More than anything, it’s going to continue the love of the sport by our citizens,” Garza said. “About a year ago we did a survey, and one of the amenities that was on the top of the list was that we needed more tennis courts in the City of Mission.”
This will be a city-run complex, and will include a shop where people will be able to string their rackets and check out equipment. Those who want to go out for a fun afternoon can use the city’s tennis balls and rackets.
“And so, what we’ve done is met with the United States Tennis Association, we’ve gotten all the specifications of the courts to make sure we can bring in those tournaments,” Garza said. “So it’s going to be a facility that we can bring those tournaments, but also we are going to share it with our school districts in this area, Mission and Sharyland, to be able to promote their school tennis tournaments here, plus any invitationals.”
Garza said that this center, as an extension of the Parks and Recreation Department, will allow tennis year round.
The city will be able to bring tennis clinics and promote the sport of tennis in the area.
“People have been knocking on the doors,” Garza said. “They want to know when we’re going to start with this. There’s just great interest in the sport within the Sharyland and Mission area.”