Tennis court closing causes stir - Republic-Times | News

Tennis court closing causes stir

By on May 10, 2017 at 1:03 pm

Pictured are the old WHS tennis courts at the intersection of Hamacher and Rogers streets, which closed to the public last week. (Sean McGowan photo)

For about 30 years, the Larry Henson tennis courts in Waterloo have provided the community a place to blow off steam and for tennis players to work on their backhand.

They serve as a summertime hot spot, a stomping grounds for Waterloo High School tennis alumni and a reminder of one coach’s legacy. But Henson, a WHS sports hall of fame legend, seems less concerned with his name being known and more concerned with what closing the courts would symbolize.

“I don’t want this to be about me,” the former 30-year WHS tennis coach stressed upon finding out the courts had recently been closed.

Henson echoed the sentiments many expressed on Facebook when he said closing the courts would devastate Waterloo.

“I feel it would be a sad day in the community if there were no tennis courts and, on top of that, no public pool,” he said, referring to the 2012 closure of the Sondag city pool.

Henson said the courts at the corner of Rogers Street and Hamacher Street were built in the mid-1970s. The WHS tennis team used these courts until 2009, when the new high school, and subsequent new tennis courts, came together.

The old courts saw a lot of use until the school district locked them up last week, including from the Gibault Catholic High School tennis team that used them for home games up until a couple of years ago.

“I saw people there often. On a nice day, there were people out there playing tennis,” Waterloo school superintendent Brian Charron said.

Safety concerns
Unfortunately, major cracks and changes in elevation on the courts constitute safety concerns and allegedly caused at least one person to be injured. This has led the school board to close the courts until coming to a decision on whether to make the necessary repairs.

In 2015, the issue of the tennis courts first appeared at a school board meeting when the estimated cost for sealing the cracks…>>>

Read the rest of this story in the May 10 issue of the Republic-Times. If you don’t already receive the paper, you can subscribe by calling 939-3814 or clicking here, or pick up a copy at any of these locations.

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Sean McGowan

Sean is a die-hard Cubs fan, despite the relentless peer pressure coming from the rest of the Republic-Times staff. He and his wife, Jacqui, have been married for two years. Originally from the west suburbs of Chicago, Sean and his wife moved down to Normal to attend Illinois State University and stayed central Illinois residents for the past four years.