More Indoor, Outdoor Tennis Courts Planned For LaFortune Park

Tuesday, March 14th 2017, 6:01 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Some state parks would be forced to close if lawmakers cut more than 14 percent of the Tourism and Rec department's budget.

The department said if that happens they'll have to close 16 state parks including Red Rock Canyon, Lake Texoma and Lake Eufaula parks.

Department leaders call the possible cuts devastating.

3/14/2017 Related Story: Cutting State Parks An Idea Officials Want To Avoid

Parks aren't the only items on the chopping block. One golf course would be removed from the Park System; the department would also have to discontinue Oklahoma Today Magazine which has been around for 60 years.

Tulsa County Parks, however, are doing better financially and planning an expansion to satisfy the growing demand for tennis courts.

This is the second winter since the indoor tennis courts at LaFortune Park opened, and they're booked solid - even the 21 outdoor courts are popular when it's a little warmer.

One group of women practices at LaFortune once a week and is part of a growing wave of interest in tennis, with more leagues forming and more people playing tournaments.

It's enough interest that even in cold weather some people are playing outside - and the indoor courts are always busy.

Tennis Center Director Melissa McCorkle said, "We have a waiting list every day. People call and we're already booked, sometimes several days out, so we could fill three more courts, and even six more, if we had them."

That's why Tulsa County plans to build new courts and a new building - adding three outdoor and three indoor courts.

It would mean the Case Center would have 30 courts in all.

The addition would go in on the existing croquet field, with more parking behind the community center.

"It's just phenomenal how well it's gone, so we want to keep moving with it," said Richard Bales with Tulsa County Parks.

The parks director took the plans through the board of adjustment Tuesday; now he's hoping to line up the rest of money for the $2 million project.

Bales said, "It took us 15 months to build what we have now and we're looking for something that can go up a lot quicker than that. The tennis people would like to have something up by November."

The Case Center is already one of the most popular tennis centers in Oklahoma, and, they're expecting more people as the weather warms up.

"So our outdoor courts will be booked from 6:30 to 10:30 at night and it's hard for people to just walk up and get a court because of all the league play that goes on,” McCorkle said.

Tulsa County has a half million dollars pledged towards the project, for the building, they'll do more fundraising for the rest.

Tuesday they got approval from the City on the site plan. They still need some permits but that's not expected to be a problem.