The area’s first new indoor tennis facility in decades will soon be under construction at a Pike Creek’s Delcastle Tennis Center (DTC), with additional plans to add platform tennis courts to the site.
DTC’s co-owner-operator Boubacar Toure confirmed that six new indoor courts will be built on the McKennan’s Church Road grounds, which sits on park land owned by New Castle County.
Demolition work began last week. Two stadium courts have been removed to make way for the indoor facility. Six outdoor courts will remain.
Opportunity for year-round tennis
The new facility will be a major addition to the limited inventory of local indoor court options for league, junior and collegiate players in the region. There is currently only one publicly-available indoor facility in New Castle County – four courts at the Hockessin Indoor Tennis center – with other highly-used courts in Elkton, MD, and the Brandywine Racquet Club just over the state line on 202 in Pennsylvania.
Toure says that demand from several local college programs, including Goldey Beacom, Wilmington University and University of Delaware, in addition to strong interest from USTA adult league and junior programs, ensure the new courts will fill an unmet need in the community.
“We’ve been working on this for fifteen years, wanting to make this a year-round tennis center,” said Toure, who lamented the lack of court options for juniors in developmental programs that can’t afford expensive country club memberships. “A lot of juniors suffer because they don’t really have local indoor tennis courts and their games drop during the winter.”
He is joined in the venture by construction expert Ron Sanna who said his love of the game has him excited about working on the facility. “I’m a local person, I’ve played tennis my whole life, and this is awesome, a great thing for the community.”
New facility produced by major sports and recreation design firm
Sanna and Toure selected Legacy Building Solutions, with five national award tennis centers throughout the country, to design the indoor facility at DTC. Sanna and Toure modified Legacy’s original model to offer more enhancements for players and spectators.
Plans for the 46,000 square-foot facility include a second story mezzanine with lots of viewing, a pro shop, locker rooms and a kitchenette. The project is slated to be completed by September 2018, at a cost of $3.2 million.
Memberships will be available for individuals and families, but court time will also be offered at hourly rates on an as-available basis for the public.
The project is an important public-private partnership between DTC and New Castle County, Toure said, emphasizing that no public funds were contributed toward the project. Toure noted that the project is funded entirely with private investment, and the County has offered a long-term lease for the space.
Toure and Sanna said studies show there are 18,000 people in a 15-20-mile radius who regularly play tennis. “There just isn’t enough court time to support that interest and many of the facilities that do exist are dated,” said Sanna.
“This will provide a beautiful, state of the art facility for the community,” said Toure, noting he is already in discussions with University of Delaware about hosting practices and matches for their men’s and women’s squads.
The four outdoor platform “paddle” courts are in the plan, but are a couple of years away. But programming for one of the fast-growing indoor sports, “pickle ball,” will also begin right away at the indoor facility. Delcastle is already accepting indoor winter contracts for those who are interested. They can email: [email protected]
Sanna said the new indoor building at Delcastle, long a mainstay of the northern Delaware tennis scene, will be more than just a tennis center. “This facility will have a homey, open feel, and you won’t want to leave after playing.”