Class A state tennis moved from Omaha’s Koch Center
NSAA facing pushback after moving the tournament to Lincoln’s Woods Tennis Center
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - There is a sign -- but you can’t see the tennis center from 124th and West Maple Road.
There are 27 regulation courts at the Koch Center and at one time this Omaha facility was one of the largest tennis facilities in the midwest., and one of the best in the country.
“It was awarded at one time the national tennis facility of the year by the usta because of its size and the programming and tournaments,” said Tracy Wright, president of the Omaha Tennis Association. The OTA supports junior and adult tennis tournaments across the Midwest and wants to grow the sport. The organization also helped get the Koch Center off the ground.
“Back when it was first designed and they started construction in 1998, we were part of that initial fundraising effort for those first six courts,” Wright said.
Wright said it’s no surprise the Nebraska State Activities Association moved the Class A tournament to Lincoln.
“It’s an asphalt tennis court, and in our climate, it just needed a little bit more TLC, and it just outran its life.”
NSAA officials say they have been talking to Omaha city officials for years about the poor conditions of some courts. They tell us the two-year hiatus will give the city time to fix the problem.
Omaha officials admit the courts need to be repaired or replaced -- and once again, the OTA will help with the cost.
“We’ve developed a fundraising effort to develop some campaign material that’s going out to individual donors...we’re looking at applying for some grants. The USTA national folks have provided some grant money as well,” Wright said.
Omaha officials have plans to upgrade the courts, and they believe some of the costs could be picked by FEMA. Wright just wants to get the courts back in shape so the Class A state tournament will come back home.
“I would suspect we would -- when you look at all of the Omaha high schools that represent tennis and the histories of the Creighton Preps, the Westsides, the Millard Norths that have been champions over the course of the last several decades.”
The city expects the upgrades to the Koch Center will cost upwards of $1 million, but they say it’s worth the investment.
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