Tennis Center marks 10 years

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— A party this Sunday will mark the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs' 10th anniversary, but the event could just as easily celebrate the completion of the original plan.

When paint dried on the new asphalt hard courts at the center last August, the facility finally reflected the plans the city had for the tennis bubble when they were drawn up in the early 1990s.

"While we developed this plan more than 10 years ago, we didn't complete it until those hard courts went in this summer," Parks and Recreation's Chris Wilson said.

Wilson said the final push to add the hard courts came from the tennis community and the Courts for Kids program. However, the bulk of the $1 million-plus facility was finished in December of 1991. Wilson said an accommodation tax, excess city funds and private donations were used to pay the $1,155,000 price tag. But he also added the center has lived up to all expectations.

At the time, Wilson explained, there wasn't enough demand for the additional four hard courts. That demand has been built by the popularity of the center itself.

"I think it says something about the center and the growth of tennis in Steamboat Springs," Wilson said. "The Tennis Center is responsible for a big part of that growth."

This Sunday, Elizabeth Bartasius, Gary Osteen and Stacy and Jim Swiggart will put on a mixed-doubles exhibition as part of the center's 10th anniversary celebration a party for local tennis enthusiasts to come out and celebrate the fact that the world-class facility is housed in Steamboat Springs.

"Stacy and I are both very proud to have been a part of the success of the Tennis Center in Steamboat Springs. Tennis was a strong part of our community before the center was built, but it enabled the tennis community to expand and has reached all of our expectations," Jim Swiggart said.

The center, which includes four indoor clay courts, six outdoor clay courts and four outdoor hard courts, boasts one of Colorado's most active local tennis communities and tennis associations.

It has played host to 28 USTA-sanctioned tournaments and social events, become a home to two very successful high school programs and has taught more than 1,500 local juniors in the center's junior tennis academy.

"The center has established itself as the premier tennis facility is the six-state intermountain region," Swiggart said.

The celebration and exhibition will take place from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and will include snacks and a drawing for top prizes including a Prince Tungsten Hornet, Wilson Rollers Hyper Staff and a Prince Longbody Thunderbolt. There will also be two $100 savings bonds from Vectra Bank Colorado.

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