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New plan, same goal: Courts in Greenfield

New plan, same goal: Courts in Greenfield

Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 12:00 pm

By RANDY CAVIN
Press Sports
Sometimes even the best plans get changed.
This has been the case with the Greenfield tennis courts project. The original plan was to build four lighted tennis courts at Callins Park at a cost of $200,000.
That has now changed due to the realignment of District 13A-AA.
The plans now are to build three non-lighted tennis courts at the Greenfield City Park — where the baseball field now sits — at a cost of $114,000. Greenfield will have a board meeting on June 11 to vote on the approval of the land.
The tennis project now has $40,360 of the $114,000 thanks to a $2,000 donation from Baker, Jimmy and Chris Williams of Williams Funeral Home in Greenfield.
Chairman of the Greenfield Tennis Project Frank Gibson and head coach Bill McCall are hoping that, with this plan, the tennis courts will be ready by the spring of 2014.
“What we want to do is give people a head’s up with what we are trying to do,” Gibson said. “A lot of people felt that here at City Park was a better place than Callins Park. We agree with it and have all along, but we did not think it would hold four tennis courts.
“But it has the parking and it has the restrooms. It has the things we would not have at Callins Park. We had the builder who built the Bethel courts and is rebuilding the UTM courts to come over do some measuring. We found out that not only could we build three courts here, we could build four.”
Gibson said the builder looked at the plans for the Callins Park and told him the project could save $15,000 by building four courts adjacent to each other over building the courts two-and-two.
“He did not feel that we could build four courts adjacent to one another at Callins Park,” Gibson said. “When we measured at City Park we found that we could build four courts adjacent each other.”
Although the plans are to have four courts all together, for now the plan is to have three non-lighted courts in place.
Gibson wants to prove that the courts will not only be used by Lady Yellowjackets, but also by anyone who likes to play tennis.
“The thought process of our committee is if we can start with three and prove that not only the team is going to use them, but all people in town, and then we can expand to the fourth court,” Gibson said. “So that is kind of where we are.”
With tennis courts being in Greenfield, it will cut down on travel expenses to Bethel and UTM, where the tennis team has had to play its home matches. It will also give everyone on the team more opportunities to practice.
The Lady ’Jackets had 19 players on the roster, but only a few could practice on McCall’s lone court he has at his home.
There are also the girls in middle school who have an interest in playing tennis at the high school level. McCall also has to use his lone court to teach them.
“Of the 19 girls on the team, only the seven who play consistently could practice consistently,” Gibson said. “So a lot of the girls did not get to practice. Over at Union City they start their kids out at eight and 10 years old. Their eight and 10-year-olds are as good as high school girls.”
Gibson wants tennis courts in Greenfield so everyone on the team will have more time to practice to be better prepared with the realignment of the district.
Bolivar, Chester County Fayette Ware, Jackson South Side and McNairy Central will in the district next season.
“It is imperative that we give these girls, by next spring, some place where they can consistently practice and that the younger girls can practice,” Gibson said.
Everything hinges on how much money the committee can raise.
There is hope of getting a 50-50 grant from the state parks and recreation if the money is available. If the grant money is available, all four courts will be able to be built at the same time instead of three in the spring and the fourth one at a later date.
“We are not waiting on that,” Gibson said. “If the city approves the land at the City Park (today), then we will get more enthusiasm from the public for building three courts.”
The committee has some fundraisers scheduled this summer, including a car wash held recently.
The big fundraiser will be on Sept. 7 with a trivia night and a sports memorabilia silent auction at the high school gym. A dinner will kick things off at 5 p.m. followed by the trivia contest and then the silent auction.
Some of the items to be auctioned off are an autographed picture of Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio together and one of Larry Bird. Autographed baseballs and baseball cards will also be auctioned.
UTM’s Heather Butler and Jasmine Newsome will also have the Slam Magazine they were recently featured in to autograph and auction.
“We are also going to try to get Pat Summitt to autograph some of her books and go out to some of the pro tennis players,” Gibson said. “We want to get some of the professional baseball and football players to autograph some things. We will get as many items as we can.”
It was McCall who has been trying to get tennis courts in Greenfield for many years now.
McCall would go to the city board meeting after every season and make his pitch for the tennis courts. It really got going early this year when Gibson got involved in the discussions.
“We have been fortunate to win a few district titles,” McCall said. “Every year after the season, I would go over to the city board meeting with our plaques and some of the girls. I would say here is what we have done this spring and ask the leaders of the town if there is any way possible if we can get some courts in town. The ball got rolling when Mr. Gibson picked it up.”
Anyone wishing to donate to this project can contact any of the committee members (Frank Gibson, Bill McCall, Troy Jones, Cindy McAdams, Dr. Roy Whaley, Willie Trevathan, Ronnie Cook, Jimmy Croom, or James Roy Pope) or can send donations to either the Greenfield Banking Company or First State Bank in Greenfield.
Checks or money orders should be made out to the Greenfield Tennis Project.
Pledges can be made by calling Frank Gibson at (731) 432-7897.

Published in The Press 6.11.13

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