Anderson County Council
By Stan Welch
The Anderson County Council heard from Belton officials Tuesday night, seeking funds for the reconstruction of the town’s well known tennis courts.
Town Councilman Jay West addressed the County Council, and explained that the courts, which annually host the Palmetto Tennis Championships, are in bad shape and require reconstruction to the tune of $130 – $140,000. He requested an additional fifty thousand in funding towards the project on behalf of the town.
“This is the kind of expense that we might incur once every thirty or forty years,” said West. “We realize that we receive funding from the ATAX money each year, but this request is in addition to that. This is a special need, and one which will not recur for decades. But this is a critical point for tennis in Belton. Tennis is a large part of Belton’s identity. We are known for tennis all over the state.”
Rex Maynard, who has been involved in Belton tennis for many years, also spoke to Council explaining that the courts will have to be completely torn out and replaced. “We have been resurfacing for several years, and that simply won’t work anymore”.
He explained the importance of the project. “This year we had a competing bid to host the Palmetto Championships. The city that made the bid recently built a six and a half million dollar tennis facility. We cannot compete with that except for the fifty seven year tradition that is Belton Tennis. But to be able to play that card, we have to have the latest and best courts we can offer.”
Maynard added that fifty five courts are used for the championships each year, with eighteen of those being located in Belton and the rest in Anderson. “We are using every facility we can as it is. The economic impact is considerable, since we attract 425 players and their families each year.
Glenn Brill, who tracks such impact for the county, confirmed that the tournament generates at least a half million dollars in economic impact each year. Council agreed to consider the request but took no action Tuesday night.
Following the second reading approval of economic incentives to be provided to Project Windermere, as well as passage of several other ordinances, Council went into executive session to discuss offering similar incentives to three as yet unidentified projects.
While no details are forthcoming, a source connected with the county’s economic development program indicated that two of the three possibilities would be located in The Journal’s coverage area. “It should escape no one’s notice that the current economic development efforts of the county are much more widespread and will hopefully benefit all parts of the county,” said the source.