By Emily McIntyre
When Five Seasons Family Sports Club in Westlake closed for business last spring, its tennis enthusiasts lost eight indoor courts and began to search for a new place where they could continue their sport year-round.
After putting their heads together, Avon Oaks Country Club President Saumil Jhaveri and Avon Oaks head tennis professional Don Stevens (formerly at Five Seasons) came up with the idea to build the Avon Oaks Tennis Center.
The new facility, which will have five hard indoor tennis courts covered by a dome 38 feet high, is predicted to open by Aug. 1. In addition, over 70 people have already joined using the new tennis-specific memberships offered by the club.
“We attracted some Five Seasons members that played tennis, but not a ton just because we only had outdoor courts and really didn’t have a place for them to go in the winter,” Jhaveri said. “We’re going to offer the closest thing to Five Seasons because we have the social aspect, the dining and that kind of thing as well as now indoor tennis.”
Other features of the 32,000-square-foot Avon Oaks Tennis Center will include an expanded and fully renovated tennis clubhouse, more lighting, a viewing area inside the dome and a temperature-controlled environment.
Although there have been no major shifts in membership recently, Paramount Tennis Club owner James Balzarini said over 100 Five Seasons members joined his club. He also added that the West Side was in need of more indoor courts.
Last year, the North Olmsted Recreation Center had to downsize from four indoor courts to two in order to fit in its gymnastics program, said Rob Baird, who is program supervisor there. Anyone – North Olmsted resident or not – can use the courts by paying a rental fee.
“We’re kind of unique, where we’re one of the only city-owned recreation centers that actually has indoor tennis courts,” Baird said. “We get a few people here and there, but I do know that a lot of people that are strictly for the tennis use, they are definitely tried (and), true to their locations.”
In a similar way, Balzarini agrees that most former Five Seasons members have already settled on a new venue at which to play tennis.
-Emily McIntyre is a summer intern for The Press and West Life newspapers. She is a sophomore at Ohio University