MTA takes over management of indoor tennis courts
By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – The Marshfield Tennis Association (MTA) has taken over management of the indoor courts at City Hall Plaza. MTA President Ali Luedtke says her organization recently signed a lease with the new owners of the Plaza, David and Christy Steinle of Rudolph, and took over day-to-day management of the courts from the Marshfield Parks and Recreation Department.
“So now we want to let the public know that in order to use that facility, they need to become a member of the MTA and acquire a fob that will now let them enter the building and create an online membership, so that they can book and pay for court times at their leisure,” she said.
Luedtke says the change allows people to book their court times 24 hours a day, and allows much more playing time than what Parks and Recreation allowed. “The courts are available from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m. seven days a week, 365 days of the year,” she added.
Luedtke said the MTA took over management of the City Hall Plaza courts on Jan. 1.
“Even though we’re a small, non-profit, volunteer-run group, tennis is still alive in Marshfield, and we knew the racquetball court was being consistently used. Unfortunately, the YMCA didn’t find a reason to put racquetball and tennis courts in their new facility, so we definitely needed to step up our game to preserve what we have,” Luedtke explained.
MTA Treasurer Todd Schultz adds that the group’s new online registration system will make it easy for people to join the group, and maintaining the space at City Hall Plaza keeps it local and convenient.
“There was a good chance that, depending who the building got sold to, that they were going to take out the tennis court and the racquetball court, and there would be no indoor courts, so I think the community that does play tennis and racquetball is extremely happy that we got an owner that’s really workable and has really embraced the fact that we want to keep those courts open for the public,” Schultz said.
Luedtke said that fees to use the courts are going up slightly.
“In the past, Park and Rec had their resident/non-resident fees. They also had pre-paid cards you could buy, contracted court time you could reserve or the one-time usage,” she explained. “Basically now, your options are to pick your annual membership, and then you can reserve whatever open times are there. If you want to reserve every Monday at 7:00, you can reserve every Monday at 7:00, but you have to pay for those slots as you register. So it’s not a pre-paid or contracted time. And we did raise the fees slightly. It’s $20 an hour to use the tennis court and racquetball is $10 an hour. But still extremely affordable. The price increase really hasn’t been brought up because people are just happy that we maintained the usage of the facility.”
The MTA is currently close to 30 members right now. “They have been happy with how the system is going to work”, says Luedtke. “Because it’s going to allow them to use it on a rainy day or a weekend or when they decide at noon that they want to play at 1:00.”
Schultz, a former University of Wisconsin-Marshfield/Wood County state tennis champion, says the sport is alive and well in Marshfield.
“It’s really been built up again, and I think that we have to take a little bit of credit for that, because the tennis program was starting to really fall off in Marshfield, after the really, really great years that we had with some great coaches like Gary Koehler and (Ken) Swenson and some of those folks,” he said. “They really built up the program and we were winning championships and going to state. Then the program just kind of dwindled off a little bit, and it was a threat that we weren’t going to have enough players to play. I think through the efforts of a lot of people, not just us, that has started to come back again.”
The comeback is evidenced, in part, by the fact that the Marshfield High School boys tennis team has won their conference the last three years.
“As far as a lifelong sport,” Schultz adds, “we have people that are 70, 80 years old playing tennis, because you can still play doubles. If you don’t want to play singles and run as much, you can still get out there.”
Luedtke played tennis in high school, and still plays today.
“It’s the people. The people in my tennis life from early on have been there consistently, always supportive, always positive. And I fell in love with the sport,” she said. “So, when I came back to Marshfield I started coaching. I was coached in high school and middle school by Gary Koehler and Ken Swenson, worked with Bill Davis and Dave Smith at the middle school and high school programs and summer camps. Work with Dave Jordan now as our youth camp Director. I know them all personally. I view them all as friends. We just have this great community that supports each other and wants to be there for other people who love tennis and appreciate it as much as we do.”
The MTA’s membership year starts and ends on Aug.15. Their goal is 50 members by Oct. 1.
For more information on becoming an MTA member, check out the organization’s Facebook page, call Ali Luedtke at 715-387-6572 or Todd Schultz at 715-207-2729, or email [email protected].