Over the past few months, officials from the Lamar County Board of Supervisors and the Lamar County School District have been working on plans to bring the Oak Grove area its first tennis complex.
That project - which is being spearheaded by District 1 Supervisor Steve Lampton and District 4 Supervisor Mitch Brent - is about to get its wheels, as work is expected to begin soon on Warrior Drive, across from the front entrance of Oak Grove High School.
“We don’t have any public tennis courts in the Oak Grove area at all - none,” Brent said. “Our high school tennis team, which also encompasses seventh grade through 12th grade, they drive to Tatum Park every afternoon to practice tennis, and I don’t think that’s a very safe way to do it.
We’d certainly like to have something on campus to where they didn’t have to make that trip every day.”
The project is located on 16th Section land that is owned by the school district. Initially, the plan was to have four to six courts at the complex, but officials upped that number to eight to accommodate other members of the community in addition to the high school.
“That’s also why we’re putting it across the street from the front of the high school, is to give the community access during the day and not have to come on campus,” Brent said. “So it will be an open park for people who want to come and play."
So far, officials have more than $600,000 - with some funds contributed from Brent and Lampton - which is about half the expected cost of the project.
“We feel like once we get started, we’ll have a little bit easier time getting some donations to help from the private sector,” Brent said. “Also, we’ve got some people writing grants, trying to get some grant money to help finish it out.
“So it’s moving along, and it’s going to happen - it’s just a matter of how long it’s going to take to finish raising the money. The county is going to go ahead and provide the labor and machinery to get that (area) cleared off and ready to start. Hopefully by doing that, we’ll generate enough interest to get some money rolling in."
Although not all the funds are in hand, Brent is prepared to start work hopefully within the next couple of weeks.
“If we can get good weather, (that will help),” he said. “It’s rained every day, so that’s not helping anything, but August is generally our driest month of the year, so I feel like in the month of August you’ll see some dirt moving.”
Lampton said he is excited to help bring the tennis complex to Oak Grove.
“It’s a good thing, because we’re not duplicating facilities and everybody can use it,” he said. “We appreciate the partnership we have with the school district; that’s the only way we can really make this work, because they have the land.
“We got a little money, they got a little money, and we put our (efforts) together and we were able to make something happen.