Parks and rec ponders new tennis facility

HARLINGEN — The Parks and Recreation Department is exploring the feasibility of funding and building a new tennis facility at the HEB Tennis Center at Pendleton Park.

Problem is, how do they draw down the cost that now stands at $600,000?

Javier Mendez, parks and rec director, has already started a fact-finding mission into how to fund a tennis facility upgrade over the modular building that serves the tennis center now. The architectural design he presented to the parks board this week was produced for free.

“This is the design that we worked on with an architect, and they did the design of the tennis center in Brownsville and pro bono they just kind of put something together,” he said. “This is the design and it’s about 20,000 square feet (and it) may be bigger than what we need, because this here is for concessions and I don’t think we need concessions, maybe like a little snack shop.”

As it stands now, the design of the tennis facility would cost $600,000 and Mendez told the board he hoped to secure grant money to fund a lower-cost tennis center.

“I think what we need the entire group to do is sit down and look at it and massage it and say, ‘we don’t need this, we don’t need this,’ and hopefully it won’t add any expense,” he said.

Tennis players using the courts at the HEB Tennis Center at Pendleton Park are seeking amenities such as restrooms. They say the lack of those is in sharp contrast to what is otherwise an excellent tennis facility.

Also, they say, when hosting tournaments bringing players in from outside Harlingen or even outside Texas, the lack of locker room facilities doesn’t present the city or the tennis center well.

Mendez told the board the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation delivered funding for a similar tennis facility in Mission.

“The reason they got funding is they were building tennis courts and had a program (that) was to provide free tennis lessons to kids in their community, so that’s what we need to do,” he told the board.

The board took no action on the issue and Chairwoman Adele Clinton-Solis said they would discuss improvements at the HEB Tennis Center at a future board meeting.