July 3, 2008 · Updated 6:04 PM
"The Whidbey Island Tennis Association is spearheading the drive to build a public indoor tennis court on Whidbey Island. The organization received positive results from a survey they mailed to over 20,000 Whidbey Island residents in July that aimed to find out how many people would use such a facility and what the options for funding are. Over 300 people returned the surveys.On the whole we received enough positive feedback from the community to move on to the next phase, and we are working on site selection for an indoor facility while waitng for our IRS tax exempt status, WITA president Fred Henninger said. The natural place for the North Whidbey courts would be in Oak Harbor, and the closer to the schools the better.Henninger was especially impressed with the number of reponses from the elderly.More older people were interested than we assumed, he said. People come back to it (tennis) as a method of recreation and socialization.Henninger said more than 10 people aged 70 and older responded, including a tennis player born in 1912.Tennis may not be the fountain of youth, but it does help, he said.Henninger estimates the building will cost between $500,000 and $600,000 to build, and it will have four tennis courts. He said several local businesses, the Senior Center and Partnership With Youth have expressed interest in being involved with the facility, and Henninger plans on applying for grants and sponsorship once the WITA receives not-for-profit tax exempt status.I would be very pleased if we could get started by next summer. I expect it to take a year at least, he said.The indoor tennis facility would operate similarly to the Vanderzicht Memorial Pool. It would be open to the public and charge membership and/or usage fees, but since the group is a non-profit organization the fees will only cover operating costs. "