Date: October 26, 2021
The Chehalis Foundation, Chehalis School District, Centralia Foundation, Lewis County Tennis Association and Chehalis Activators have entered into a partnership to construct a four-court tennis and middle school wrestling facility located by the middle school on 20th street in Chehalis. This regional facility will serve the tennis and wrestling communities. The facility will give the Centralia and Chehalis high school and adult tennis teams the ability to train, hold matches and tournaments regardless of weather. Crews will break ground in 2022.
“More than a hundred Tiger and Bearcat boys and girls play high school tennis every year. They learn a life-long sport. A multi-court indoor facility allows our student athletes to compete with players from anywhere.” said Chehalis tennis coach Jack State.
Jenny Collins, Chehalis Foundation Executive Director chairs the steering committee. She stated “Steve Ward is the most experienced and proven public construction facilitator in Lewis County. It’s a big boost for this project to have him on board. Steve’s track record at Centralia College is comprised of an impressive list of projects that include creating and implementing a facilities master plan that changed the face of the entire college in a remarkable way.”
“My retirement didn’t last long; I’m excited to lend my experience in overseeing the building of new facilities to this project,” Ward said. “There are many reasons why I want to help. For one thing, this facility will be another valuable piece to attract new businesses and jobs to our area. It will bring adult and youth tournaments here which generates revenue for local businesses. It is necessary to give our local tennis kids the ability to compete with anyone and it will be a boost to the Chehalis wrestling program because Chehalis middle school wrestlers need a good place for their practices. We’re going to get this thing done and when we do, Centralia and Chehalis communities will be proud of what we built as a team.”
During the initial plans for this facility, the following benefits were factors in the decision to move forward;
- Enhancing the area appeal as a sports, tourist and entertainment destination
- Providing a first-class multi-purpose venue for area residents and out-of-town attendees
- Increasing the overall quality of life and livability of the area
- Capitalizing on existing and planned tourism efforts
- Providing an opportunity for other potential development including private sector investment
- Fostering relationships with area educational institutions
- Providing venues for the expansion of existing educational/sports programs and the development of new program in our local schools
- Generating additional economic activity in terms of spending, jobs, and earnings
Each of these benefits was important in assessing the overall impact of the proposed facility.
The steering committee is comprised of an impressive array of members including Jeremy Corwin, Brian Zylstra, Kirby White, Jack White, J.T. Eklund, Anne Stedham, J. Vander Stoep, T.J. Underwood, Ed Rothlin and Steve Ward.
Jeremy Corwin states “Tennis has been a very important part of my family, ranging from Nanna (in her 80’s) to our youngest at 10. It is a multigenerational and lifelong sport. But in recent years we have lacked adequate indoor tennis courts, and this solution is another great opportunity for Lewis County youth to have access to facilities that can help further them as athletes regardless of their economic status. I am so excited about what this new facility will mean to our community!”
Pledges and donations to this facility are currently at $800,000 with a preliminary estimated project cost of $3 million. The official fundraising campaign kicks off in November. For more information about this project; contact Jenny Collins at 360.508.6572 or [email protected].