Former Dover tennis club is renovated and reborn

DOVER — When Colonial Tennis Club went up for sale, Dr. Joel Halpern and his wife, Dianne Halpern, had an idea.

The Dover couple, with the desire to keep the nearby tennis courts in usable condition, purchased the business and made a couple of renovations.

“A developer wanted to put four houses there – it’s about four acres – but my wife and I decided that we’d like it to stay a tennis court,” said Dr. Halpern. “So, we ended up purchasing it while at the same time realizing that pickleball is becoming a really big event around here.”

After the purchase 10 months ago the Halperns quickly began renovations.
After resurfacing and fixing cracks, completely renovating the clubhouse and adding pickleball courts, the newly-named Courtside Pickleball & Tennis Club is officially ready to reopen for business with six tennis courts and 12 pickleball courts available.

“We’re ecstatic about it,” said Dr. Halpern. “I think it’s something Dover needs, and I think a lot of people would rather play outside than inside and there’s really only one area now that you can play pickleball.”
Pickleball, a newly-popular but rapidly-growing sport across southern Delaware, is a paddleball sport similar to racquetball. It combines elements of tennis, badminton and table tennis. The dimensions of the court are smaller than a tennis court.

“We decided, ‘hey, pickleball’s really big around here.’ I took lessons at the Boys and Girls Club and we decided to put both tennis and pickleball in,” said Dr. Halpern.

Courtside, which is already offering tennis lessons, is set to hold a Meet, Greet & Play event on Sunday, to welcome potential new members.
At the two-hour event, set to run from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., guests who bring their owns paddles and rackets will be able to try out the new courts. The courts can be found at 2117 Kenton Road in Dover.

Food and drinks will be provided, while Sol Knopf is set to provide the music entertainment. The rain date is slated for the following Sunday, Oct. 27.

“You can sign up for membership, we’ll have food and music, and hopefully it’ll turn out to be a big event,” Dr. Halpern said of Sunday.

The main objective of the meet and greet is to solidify membership and make sure things are ready to go for the club’s main launch in the spring.
The fees have been kept the exact same as the fees at Colonial Tennis Club, which was originally established in 1973.

The newly renovated clubhouse, which Dr. Halpern hopes gives the reopened club a boost, has a pro shop, a meeting room and a new P.A. system.
An advisory board of six people to oversee the running of the private club. Four of the six board members are from downstate.

He also brought in a few instructors, including Becky Moody, to serve as tennis and pickleball pros to offer lessons.
Moody is a pickleball champion and travels all around the country for tournaments almost every weekend.

While the short-term goal is to establish membership, the club’s long-term goal is to hold tournaments and open tennis and pickleball leagues at the club.

Dr. Halpern has practiced optometry for over 40 years. He’s currently at MyEyeDr. in Dover and Milford. His newest business venture will likely keep him busy long after his retires from his day job.

“I stopped counting after 40,” he said with a laugh. “I’m think that this tennis and pickleball club will give me something to do after I retire.”
Courtside is in the process of launching an official website, but the club has a business Facebook page.

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