There is a new movement in town, can you feel it? If you spend any time on Prince Street you’ve seen it. It’s tennis! My dear friend Hannah Howell has been asking me to play with her since our youngest kiddos were born. They are 5 years old now and I’m finally saying yes!
Conway’s new facility at Laurel Park is scheduled to open this month. And those leading the charge to have it built couldn’t be happier.
You see, in the past anyone wanting to play matches or tournaments had to drive to Little Rock to do so. Howell says some dropped out of the sport because of that. “It was just too far to drive, especially for those who live in Russellville,” she says.
Because of her efforts to get practically everyone in town playing; dozens have signed up and new teams are forming. Howell says, “My family and I just love tennis so much I want everyone to play! I enjoy the friends I’ve made playing in Little Rock but I would rather play with friends in Conway; and not have to drive down there.”
The city broke ground for the project last summer. Mayor Bart Castleberry is thrilled to add it to Laurel Park. “I am excited about the new tennis complex for several reasons. We are partnering with Conway Public Schools as well as Central Baptist College in the near future to use the facility. This, coupled with our local tennis association bringing tournaments to Conway will have a positive economic impact,” Castleberry says.
There will be eight courts, vending machines, a pro shop, and restrooms. There will also be two heated and cooled indoor viewing areas. “This provides our citizens another amenity to enjoy. It will be another reason to get out and enjoy the tremendous opportunities we have in our city,” Castleberry says.
But what mom and tennis advocate Hannah Howell is most excited about is the potential to reach Conway’s kids, many of whom frequent Laurel Park. “I would love to build the kids programs in Conway. If we can get interest from parents and adults, our kids and juniors programs will improve as well. I am excited about the new courts. Conway has really done a great job!”
The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce will host a grand opening for the tennis facility on April 17 from 5-7 p.m. It’s open to the public. You’re invited to bring your workout clothes and try out the courts. Professional tennis instructors will be on hand for those who want to learn how to play. The family-friendly event features a kids court for kids 10 years old and younger. Whether or not you’re interested in tennis, you’re invited to enjoy live music by Preston Palmer and tasty food from local restaurants.
The first tournament will be April 27- 29. It’s the Conway Regional Tennis Classic. There’s still time to register. Visit www.arkansascup.com/tournaments. To learn more about the tennis movement in Conway visit the website www.conwaytennis.net. They even convinced yours truly to sign up! I haven’t picked up a racket in 30 years!
See you at the courts!