SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Serena Williams’ play at the U.S. Open has been an inspiration to the local tennis community. And it turns out, so has the tournament itself, as a kind of blueprint for a brand-new outdoor tennis venue in central Sioux Falls called the Great Life Cares Foundation Tennis Complex.
Joan Olson of Sioux Falls and her tennis partners have been among the first players to hit the court at the new complex located in Tomar Park.
“I was amazed that it was so nice and clean and it’s a beautiful facility, we can be very proud of it,” Olson said.
The complex features 12 courts, all colored blue, just like the U.S. Open. Organizers say its central location will mean local tennis tournaments involving schools and adult leagues won’t have to be spread out across the city, as in the past.
“We’ve been lacking a facility with this many courts, so we had to split it up, go from one side of the park at Kuehn on the west side and even go as far as Washington, Lincoln High School and McKennan. And, we’ve had to go out to Harrisburg and Brandon before, so it’s going to be nice having this many, this close,” Sioux Falls Tennis Association Executive Director Lydia Healy said.
Visitors to the complex can escape the hot sun by ducking underneath these shaded canopies. There will also be grandstands set up for tournaments, even TV monitors so they can watch all the action.
“We have five courts that are going to have life-streaming and scoreboarding, and our hope is to get this to be a location for a springboard of the South Dakota Open when they can get a wildcard into a professional tournament somewhere else,” Healy said.
For longtime players like Olson, a spacious venue like this offers a relaxed atmosphere to meet with friends and play their favorite sport.
The Sioux Falls Tennis Association is planning to hold an official ribbon-cutting later this month. Private donations paid for the $3-million project. But they’d also like to raise more money to pay for other amenities like restrooms and concessions.
The park is free for everyone to play.