St. Catharines wants public input before putting dome over tennis courts

Published May 17, 2023 at 1:54 pm

St. Catharines wants to have a dome installed from October to April over the soon-to-be renovated tennis courts at Community Park but wants public input before it's okayed.
St. Catharines wants to hear from residents about installing an inflated air dome over the soon-to-be renovated tennis courts at Community Park in St. Catharines.

Much like Niagara Falls, which last week announced a deal with Tennis Clubs of Canada (TCC) to dome over the tennis courts at that city’s John N. Allen Park, St. Catharines is looking to do the same.

In Niagara Falls, the biggest complaint was that a free outdoor tennis court became a paid one when the dome is set up on October 1 and continuing to April 30.

On the other side of the net, it instantly turns a seasonally-dependent sports facility into a year-round one. The dome will be taken down for the warmer outdoor season, from May 1 to Sept. 30 each year.

Four groups have partnered on the project including the City of St. Catharines, TCC, the Merritton Lions Club, and the St. Catharines Tennis Alliance (SCTA).

TCC will bre the proposed operator of the new facility, with over 40 years of experience in constructing and operating indoor tennis domes. They operate eight others across Ontario and are responsible for all operational costs.

“City staff, the St. Catharines Tennis Alliance, Tennis Clubs of Canada, and the Merritton Lions Club have been working collaboratively over the last year to make this project a reality,” says Eric Lamothe, manager of business planning and strategic services for the City.

“The new dome is a wonderful opportunity to turn the soon-to-be renovated tennis court into a more accessible and inclusive facility for residents to enjoy year-round.”

Plans include offering members and non-members a wide variety of diverse instructional programs and activities including round robins, house leagues, and tournaments. While the primary focus within the dome will be tennis, temporary pickleball lines and nets will be considered at certain times throughout the week.

The SCTA was formed with the purpose of advocating for improvements to courts and programming while creating a community where all players belong.

Staff and the SCTA have been working collaboratively since the inception of the alliance to get an indoor tennis facility up and running for residents. The group will be making a financial contribution towards the project and will play an active partnership role in the operations of the facility by assisting with programming.

Residents are invited to provide their input on the project by filling out the survey which will be open until June 8, available HERE.

Residents are also invited to attend the in-person Public Information Centre taking place May 23 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Merritton Community Centre (7 Park Ave.)

Following community consultation, a report will be sent to Council for their consideration of the project later this year. If approved, the indoor tennis dome is anticipated to be operational by the fall of 2024.

Niagara Falls’ John N. Allen Park will be domed starting this October.

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