Dana Hills Tennis Center is a facility open to paying public patrons. The construction of the courts is unique in character because the tennis court surface for 6 of the 8 courts is actually the top deck of a 7.8 million-gallon water reservoir. In 1977 board members of the South Coast Water District decided to better utilize land space for water storage and, at the same time, provide a recreational facility that could be used by the community. Both purposes could be accomplished more functionally and aesthetically by building an underground concrete water reservoir in lieu of a steel tank.
In 1978 this issue was brought to the constituents of the SCWD, and they overwhelmingly approved a bond issue for the project. The size of the reservoir structure allowed sufficient space for 6 tennis courts to be built on top. In 1980 the project was completed, and the official plaque christening the facility as Dana Hills Recreational Park was placed on the reservoir. Then, in 1981, a memorial service was performed by the board members dedicating the facility in the memory of James Van Rensselaer, the water district’s community relations consultant and staunch supporter/contributor to the project.
In July of 1983 the recreational park officially opened. For public awareness, the facility was renamed Dana Hills Tennis Center. DHTC is a nonprofit facility owned and operated by the South Coast Water District. The bond issue that was passed paid the capital costs for the water reservoir, and in turn, the tennis courts. The tennis center is open to the general public, but is not funded by any city, county or state programs. Therefore, fees are charged strictly to the user placing the financial burden on them and not the local taxpayers. These fees are the primary source of revenue DHTC uses to operate, properly maintain and upgrade the facility. Any excess funds go directly back into the tennis center fund for further improvements.
In 1987, district board members took the initiative to upgrade the facility due to the expanded growth in Dana Point. Construction of two additional tennis courts along with a 2200 sq. foot two-story clubhouse began in 1988 and the project was completed in January of 1990. Dana Hills Tennis Center has received many awards, the most prestigious are the Outstanding Tennis Facility Award presented by the U.S.T.A. in 1991 and the California Pro and Player of the year award presented to Barbara Lemberg, head professional.
At the present time the facility offers 8 championship lighted courts, a proshop, restrooms, shower/locker facilities, lounge area, and an upstairs conference room available for tennis center functions and for rent to non-profit organizations.
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