The city held a ribbon-cutting, dedication and grand opening of Center Court at the Athea Gibson Tennis Complex @ Empie Park on Friday, August 10. The center court is located adjacent to the tennis clubhouse. Empie Park is located at 3405 Park Avenue.
Center court was named for Yona Bar-Zeev, the retiring president of the Greater Wilmington Tennis Association (GWTA). Bar-Zeev was instrumental in the planning for the improvements at the Althea Gibson Tennis Complex funded by the 2006 Parks and Greenspace Bond. During his tenure with the GWTA, Bar-Zeev has dedicated significant time to making tennis available to everyone in Wilmington. His organization has donated more than $20,000 in tennis equipment throughout Wilmington, provided scholarships and after-school programs.
There was a friendly city-county mixed-doubles match with Mayor Bill Saffo and Tari Ann Toro-Steinmetz (Manager of Althea Gibson Tennis Complex) vs. County Commissioner Jason Thompson and Tara Duckworth (New Hanover County Parks Manager) on center court. The match ended with a win from the City, 4-0.
The $41,000 center court project was completed in July with monies from the parks bond and a $12,000 grant from the United States Tennis Association. Ten new tennis courts funded by the 2006 parks bond were completed at Empie Park along with the tennis clubhouse in 2010. This improvements to Empie Park were a joint project for the City of Wilmington and New Hanover County.
More information about the tennis complex can be found here.