Here's to You: Where are Bemidji's tennis courts?
It is a beautiful, sunny day. With rackets in hand, a can of balls and friends or family willing to join in, it's time to play tennis.
Now, where are the tennis courts in Bemidji?
There are 21 outdoor tennis courts where tennis enthusiasts can play for free. All these courts are available seven days a week, unless in use by someone else. If some of the courts are filled, players may still use the other courts.
Here is a quick tour of the tennis courts in Bemidji. There are benches available at all courts - for observers or for players to rest between games.
Bemidji High School has eight courts, including a backboard to practice technique. These courts are located on West Fifth Street, just past the bypass and just before the stoplight at the turn to the high school. The high school tennis events and classes have first priority, but anyone can play if there is an open court. Generally, there are courts available most days and times of the week. Some leagues and the Lumberjack Junior Open Tournament are held here.
The high school also has the added advantage of available lights at night.
Players just push the button on the tall light pole on the east side and wait a few minutes for the lights to brighten. There are also tennis court windbreaks on these courts. Trees also act as windbreaks. The lights and trees were provided by the Bemidji Tennis Association, a precursor to the Bemidji Area Tennis Association, several years ago. Thanks, BTA!
Fantastic sunsets are also visible from these courts - an added benefit when playing in the evening!
The Bemidji Middle School also has eight courts. These courts are protected from the wind by buildings and trees. There are no lights for late evening play, but players have the benefit of seeing deer, geese and other wildlife from time to time. There is a backboard for practice at this site. There is also a patio with picnic tables for observers. There is also a tennis ball donation chute on the side of the equipment shed. Used tennis balls still have use in the various tennis programs, so feel free to donate them!
Many tennis activities occur at this site, including Kids' Summer Tennis, Summer Champs for ages 12 and older, QuickStart Tennis for ages 10 and younger, Friday Night Owls for ages 18 and older, leagues, and the Paul Bunyan Open Tournament.
There are two courts behind Olson-Schwartz Funeral Home, in Algoma Park. These courts do not have windbreaks. There is a softball diamond and basketball court so friends or family not interested in tennis have activities, too.
The court on South Lake Irving is a quiet place to play. Nestled in a pleasant neighborhood, it is easy to use. There is also a basketball court, a kids' play area and a picnic area for alternate activities.
There are two courts in Nymore Park, along with basketball, a kids' play area and picnic tables. The courts are often full in the late summer mornings by retirees enjoying their time off. These courts will be resurfaced this summer.
So there is a quick tour of the outdoor courts. We hope you check them out! For more information, call 835-8122 or check out the Bemidji Area Tennis Association website at www.bemidji.usta.com.
See you on the courts!
Cathy Schultz is a Bemidji Area Tennis Association board member.