Ipswich-based business Baseline Tennis Coaching has been awarded a five-year lease to run the George Alder Tennis Centre at Leichhardt.
Community, Culture, Arts and Sport Committee Chairperson Councillor Andrew Fechner said Baseline Tennis Coaching has managed the eight tennis courts at the Springfield Central Sports Complex since October 2020 and was a good fit for the Leichhardt venue.
“Ipswich City Council currently manages and operates the George Alder Tennis Centre at Ernest Street, Leichhardt on a restricted capacity, with the centre only opened when a member of the community books a court,” Cr Fechner said.
“However, council officers are unable to offer specialised services including training, coaching and competitive tennis activities.”
Ash Barty with Keys to the City at George Alder Tennis Centre in West Ipswich on 16 December, 2017.
Council went to open tender last year to engage a suitably qualified and experienced specialist tennis facility management organisation/operator for the activation, management, and operation of the George Alder Tennis Centre, under a trustee lease.
Councillor Fechner said council received five tender submissions.
“The evaluation panel assessed the submissions against the evaluation criteria and recommended Baseline Tennis Coaching as the preferred lessee,” Cr Fechner said.
“Council is confident that Baseline Tennis Coaching, an established Ipswich-based business, has the required experience and capacity to manage and activate the centre on behalf of council and the community.”
The George Alder Tennis Centre in Leichhardt facilities include a clubhouse, 12 clay tennis courts with lighting, a hard court half-court with rebound hitting wall, car park, amenities, maintenance shed and shaded spectator seating areas.
The George Alder Tennis Centre was also where retired tennis champion Ash Barty began her professional career at the 2010 City of Ipswich Tennis International.
Ipswich has a total of 36 courts spread out across the city, including at Queens Park operated by the Ipswich Junior Tennis Association and the free-to-use Ash Barty Court at Spring Lake Park.
Clay courts were originally constructed at the centre in 1977, making it the premier clay tennis court facility in Queensland able to host state and national level competitions.
Considerable funds have been invested at the George Alder Tennis Centre over the years, including a 2008 redevelopment of the facility and its 12 courts that was funded by all levels of government.
Division 3 Councillor Marnie Doyle said council assumed management and maintenance of the centre in January 2021 with officers attending the facility on selected days to support infrequent bookings.
“It’s great that the centre will soon be more easily available to Ipswich’s many passionate tennis players and that Baseline Tennis Coaching will be operating and activating the space for the community,” Cr Doyle said.
“With agreed hire rates for community use, this is a great outcome for the city’s baseline bashers and serve and volleyers alike.”