City will dedicate upgraded tennis complex expected to attract players

Published 7:47 pm Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Vicksburg residents will get a formal introduction to the city’s improved tennis facilities at Halls Ferry Park during a 10 a.m. ribbon cutting ceremony Friday at the park.

The $800,000 project includes a remodeled pro shop with a changing area with lockers and showers and handicap accessible restrooms. There are also provisions for marking the city’s 14 tennis courts for pickle ball, which has become a popular sport in the area.

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South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour, who is over the city’s recreation department, said the improvements will allow the Halls Ferry tennis facility to compete with other facilities in the state for tournaments.

“When I first got here, we had just missed a weeklong professional tennis tournament, and one of the reasons was our restrooms were not ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant,” he said.  “And also we had an electrical fire at the tennis pro shop.

“It was just an inadequate facility, and we were getting outbid all over the state, really. We had great tennis courts, but we didn’t have much of a facility where tennis players had the ability to shower and had not privacy.”

After looking at facilities across the state, Monsour said, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen decided to take steps to create a facility “where we could be in competition to at least be in the running for a tournament to bid on.”

He said he wants to build six more courts at Halls Ferry, “so that way we won’t lose any tournaments because we do not have enough courts to cover the amount of players most tournaments have.”

Monsour said the courts at Halls Ferry will accommodate tennis and pickleball, a paddle sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis and can be played by two or four players. The game is played locally at the YMCA and at several local churches.

“Pickelball is becoming a phenomenon across the southeast, and tournaments are being played,” he said.

He said the tennis courts will be lined off for pickleball, adding Halls Ferry tennis pro Rick Shields is certified to hold pickleball tournaments. Monsour said the pickleball boundaries will be removed for tennis tournaments and replaced after.

He called the renovated tennis facility “second to none. It will be a fantastic. It will be a great facility for tennis tournaments, professional and college.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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