Photo courtesy of the Burchell family.
0912 Chelsea Tennis Association
CHS sophomores Natalie Lorimer and Molly Burchell.
A new association has formed to bring tennis courts to Chelsea.
Chelsea Tennis Association started as a conversation between Karrie Lorimer and Cassie Burchell, both moms of Chelsea High School tennis players. The high school team practices at Brook Highland Racquet Club because there are currently no courts in Chelsea.
“Tennis offers a sport to children not into football or baseball or softball where they can compete individually and with a team,” Burchell said. “It is a sport they can take with them the rest of their life and is for any skill level.”
First, the group gathered information on those who would be interested in bringing courts to Chelsea and found around 50 people who already play the sport. Currently tennis players in the area have to drive to Pelham, Brook Highland or Inverness.
Now that they have determined that there is significant interest, Lorimer, Burchell and their daughters have met with Mayor Niven and U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) Representative Kevin Theos to discuss costs, land, possible grants and other matters to create city courts open for public access in the growing area.
“Tennis courts would also be an attraction for people to move to Chelsea, and tournaments the courts could host would bring revenue and business to the area,” Burchell said.
The association hopes to start by building four to six courts. Each court costs about $80,000 and USTA can fund up to $50,000, so they are exploring other possibilities for grants and fundraising. By working with the USTA, the courts will be able to offer USTA programs and tournaments.
The coming year is especially appropriate to build courts due to the growing tennis program in schools. Chelsea High School will be competing against 6A schools this year, and this spring will be the first season for a Chelsea Middle School tennis team. The new team, coached by collegiate player Kelli Earamore, will help groom players for the high school team.
“(Tennis courts) would definitely enrich the sports experience for both the community and the school,” Chelsea Middle School Principal Phil Harper said.
CHS sophomores Natalie Lorimer and Molly Burchell are junior presidents of the Chelsea Tennis Association, and their moms hope to turn most of the upcoming project over to them as part of community service work.