Sales of permits to play tennis at Mead Park nearly doubled year-over-year in 2020, parks officials say, while revenues generated through clinics and lessons nearly tripled last summer.
The outdoor sport, where players are already socially distanced, saw activity rise especially among adults in 2020, according to Parks & Recreation Commissioner Laura Costigan.
The rise in use of the courts “has just been astonishing,” Costigan told the Commission during its March 10 meeting, held via videoconference.
“It will be interesting to see, now that the other sports are coming back and travel teams are coming back, if it continues,” she said.
Costigan’s comments came during an update to Parks & Rec from the appointed body’s tennis committee and just two years after officials bemoaned waning interest in tennis here. Like platform or “paddle” tennis at Waveny, traditional outdoor tennis at Mead is seeing a sharp rise in popularity amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here’s a table summarizing permit sales in recent years:
Mead Park Tennis Permit Sales
|Total||111 ($9,085)||142 ($10,260)||277 ($20,330)|
The town sells seasonal permits for the Mead Park tennis courts, ranging from $25 (youth) to $195 (nonresidents), with a $10 per-day guest fee.
Costigan noted that the town’s strategy of introducing new tennis pros two years ago has helped establish lessons and clinics at Mead. After revenues declined in the spring season due to the courts being out-of-use in the early months of the pandemic, the summer season saw an increase year-over-year from $26,400 to $75,185, she said. The fall season also saw an increase in revenues from lessons and clinics, from $22,930 in 2019 to $34,506 in 2020, she said.
“Again, let’s see if that holds this coming year, but certainly it was great that our town was able to provide such a great source of recreation during the COVID period,” Costigan said.
Parks & Rec Chair Rona Siegel called the numbers “incredible.”
Costigan said that about 600 individuals and households have made reservations to play tennis on town courts through an online reservation system. The figure represents rising use of the system, and the Commission may consider charging a fee for it, she said, especially now that parks officials say a paid attendant should be staffed at the New Canaan High School courts.