Ocean City Tennis Center’s Season Called A Success

OCEAN CITY – The Recreation and Parks Department’s report to the Mayor and Council this week included a recap of the Ocean City Tennis Center’s successful season and an early overview of this year’s Winterfest of Lights event.

Ocean City Recreation and Parks Recreation Superintendent Kate Gaddis started off by presenting a report on the Ocean City Tennis Center’s 2012 summer season.

“We had a successful summer at the tennis center,” Gaddis said. “We were able to get a lot of people out playing tennis this summer, and we were able to increase the number of programs that we have there and the number of participation.”

According to Gaddis, the Ocean City Tennis Center, located on 61st Street and the bay, operated from May 15 through Sept. 30, 2012.

During the months of May through mid-June and after Labor Day, the facility was open with modified hours. From mid-June to Labor Day, it was open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

“We did expand by opening an hour earlier than we have in the past this summer, and that increased our payroll a little bit but we were also able to increase our revenue … because tennis players like to come out early and beat the heat,” Gaddis said.

Gaddis submitted there was an increase in the facility’s overall operations. Specifically, up this year were court reservation fees, private lessons and adult program participation. However, there was a decrease in youth program participation.

Programs offered at the tennis center included OC Tennis Academies, Pee Wee Tennis Camps, Quickstart Tennis, Women’s Morning Flights, Women’s Summer Flings, Men’s Morning Flights, Cardio Tennis, Holiday Mixers, Adult Camps, Junior Clinics, Men’s and Women’s Singles Open, the Delmarva Junior Open L4 Tournament and the Ocean City Junior Open L5.

Overall, the number of programs, revenue and participation has increased over the past 10 years.

In 2003, between expenses and revenue, the city lost about $13,000 on the tennis center followed by another year of losses in 2004 by almost $2,000.

By 2005, Ocean City began to gain revenue on the center and that continued through 2008, but in 2009 another loss hit of almost $8,000 and in 2010 of around $800. Last year the tennis center was on the rise again gaining about $3,500 in revenue and this past summer brought in $531 in net profit when expenditures and revenue were weighed against each other.

“Overall, we think it was a very successful summer and expect to see some of the staff back again next summer,” Gaddis said.

Councilman Joe Mitrecic commended Gaddis on the tennis center and its success.

“I remember at a time we were talking about closing down the tennis center and since she has taken it over it has come alive and doing well,” he said.

Next, Recreation and Parks Director Tom Shuster gave a report on the opening of the 20th Anniversary of Winterfest of Lights this year at Northside Park on Thursday Nov. 15. Winterfest will run through Jan. 1.

“It is typical we see a lot of people come through over the Thanksgiving weekend, and we did have some good numbers,” Shuster said.

As of Nov. 25, the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, there were 26,155 riders through Winterfest, generating revenue of approximately $125,000. Compared to last year, ridership was down by 3,000 in that period of time.

“Last year on Saturday and Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend it was 60 degrees, this year it was 35 degrees,’ Shuster said looking at the positive side. “I think sometimes it is fair to say the temperature is a factor in the decision for people to come out.”

Shuster recalled last year’s Winterfest of Lights resulted in the best ridership and revenue in Ocean City’s history.

“We will work hard to match last year, but with any outdoor event in many cases it is subject to the weather … we are anticipating an excellent year this year and hope to report at the end of the season that we had another fine Winterfest sending our 20th anniversary out in style,” Shuster said.

Shuster added that as part of the ongoing celebration of the event’s 20th anniversary, Ocean City will have a special fireworks presentation at Northside Park on New Year’s Eve. The fireworks will join other planned events on New Year’s Eve weekend, such as the Penguin Swim and the Mayor and City Council’s Open House.

“We will be tuning off fireworks at midnight to celebrate bringing in the New Year, and we look forward to that as an opportunity for people to have something to do on New Year’s Eve, as a part of what’s happening here on New Year’s weekend here in Ocean City,” Shuster said.