Weather delays completion of tennis courts in Beaufort, SC


Beaufort’s seven downtown tennis courts — under reconstruction for almost four months — should reopen in about a month, according to Beaufort County.

The $630,800 project, said Eric Clausen, Beaufort County’s director of engineering, “is a little behind schedule” because of July rain, but isn’t too far off the pace.

“We did run into some weather delays,” Clausen said. “Of course, that happened when we were trying to do grading.”

The original scheduled completion date was Aug. 22 but Clausen expects the courts to be finished now in the first week of September or thereabouts, weather permitting, reopening to the public the following week.

With seven courts, the Beaufort tennis complex, located in the heart of the city at 1105 Bladen St. off Boundary Street, is the largest public tennis facility north of the Broad River.

The old courts were cracked and the fencing was shot and new lights were needed. They’re being replaced.

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Grading and compaction and the underground work, such as irrigation and conduit for the lights, is done at the Beaufort tennis complex at the corner of Bladen and Boundary streets in Beaufort. Asphalt is scheduled to go down next week, weather permitting. Karl Puckett

The revamp includes removing the existing hard courts and installing entirely new surfaces, also hard court, along with nets/hardware and fences/gates, new lights and poles and rain gardens and runoff controls to address stormwater issues that have plagued the courts in recent years .

Grading and compaction of the area and the underground work, such as irrigation and conduit for the lights, is done, Clausen said Wednesday.

Asphalt is expected to go in next week, Clausen said. The following week, fencing will go up around the courts. Three weeks after the asphalt cures, the courts will be painted.

A boom truck will lift the poles and lights into place.

“We do understand it’s a much anticipated project,” Clausen said, “and again we do appreciate the citizen’s patience as we are looking to wrap that one up.”

The contractor is Marietta, Georgia-based Talbot Tennis.

Construction started April 22.

Construction originally was expected to begin in fall 2021. However, multiple factors led to a delay, including attempts to get additional parking approved, availability of construction materials and labor and ensuring the city, South Carolina Department of Transportation and the county had no issues with the final plans.

No additional parking will be added.

The Beaufort County Parks and Recreation Department is creating a master plan that includes developing additional tennis and pickleball courts. Last year, the county converted three tennis courts at Shell Point near Port Royal, Southside Park in Beaufort and Bluffton Recreation Center into six pickleball courts. No pickleball courts are planned at the downtown Beaufort tennis complex.

The Bluffton Planning Commission will also consider a plan to build additional pickleball courts there. The original plan was tabled this month so the developer could address concerns about additional parking and traffic flow.

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Beaufort’s downtown tennis facility has seven courts. Work on renovating them is expected to begin soon, according to Beaufort County. Beaufort County

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Karl Puckett covers the city of Beaufort, town of Port Royal and other communities north of the Broad River for The Beaufort Gazette and Island Packet. The Minnesota native has also worked at newspapers in his home state, Alaska, Wisconsin and Montana.

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