Last year, city officials and residents celebrated a long-awaited groundbreaking ceremony in the Lincoln Crossing area for the Robert “Chief” Jimenez Park on Groveland Lane adjacent to the Lincoln Crossing Community Center.
Chief Jimenez was a decorated World War II hero who served as Lincoln Police Department chief for 32 years between 1947 and 1979. Chief Jimenez passed away in 2009 at 87 years old.
Family members attended the groundbreaking ceremony honoring the career of the long-serving chief of police.
The park’s initial construction phase includes four-lighted tennis courts, two basketball courts, restroom facilities and ample convenient parking. Future plans for this 15-acre park include two lighted ball fields; one lighted long field, a snack bar, picnic and playground areas, and additional parking.
Local residents who were eager to see this project completed are already putting the basketball courts and the tennis courts to good use. Tennis lessons are available at the new site on Thursdays, starting with youths 7 and over and including night sessions for adults (see the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department Program Guide or use the program guide on the city of Lincoln website at lincoln.ca.gov).
The tennis courts have been a popular site for open play by residents of varying ages and skill levels. On one sunny weekday afternoon, I found the seven-member Monelo family enjoying a family outing on the courts. Tim Monelo, a city Parks and Recreation Committee member, was joined by his wife, April, and children, Logan (11), Jack (9), Ava (7), Elinor (5) and Luke (3).
Tim kept the oldest four busy on the court while Ava and Luke served as spectators for the family event. The Monelo family is appreciative of tennis as a cost-effective way to spend a few hours together in the fresh air.
On an adjacent court, Joe Peterson and Emily Moore were engaged in some ball volleying. They have lived in Lincoln Crossing for two years and enjoy using the courts at least twice weekly, including some night play under the lights. Joe and Emily are proud residents of Lincoln and are appreciative of its suburban feel while being only a few minutes away from the countryside.
Jim and Sarah Quinney were enjoying a spirited workout and they appreciate the opportunity to get in some afternoon play. Jim would also like to see a league initiated here for some USTA (United States Tennis Association) team play. Sarah said the nearby courts provide her with an opportunity to take a short break from her duties as pastor for Saint James Episcopal Church. They are both very pleased with the condition of the courts as well as the convenient parking and availability of drinking fountains and new restrooms.
The latest copy of the Winter/Spring 2018 Recreation Guide contains an announcement regarding adult tennis socials scheduled monthly on a Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to noon. The program is scheduled for the second Saturday of each month including Saturday mornings on March 10 and April 14.
The free activity even includes some prizes as well as light refreshments to start the morning. The early success of this program can be attributed to a “dedicated dynamic trio” (Cynthia McGowan, Alan Criswell and Bonnie Taylor.) They arrive early, stay late and focus their energy on making sure that all tennis enthusiasts have an enjoyable morning.
One of the Saturday morning participants, Josh Morris, described the program as follows: “It’s an outstanding group of warm people that want to build friendships and a social network through tennis meet-ups. They’re the nicest folks you could ask to meet and the attendees are eager to get to know different people. Don’t worry about not fitting in because that simply won’t happen. Come on out and enjoy the fun!”
So, whether it be joining the Saturday morning tennis social or meeting a friend at the courts to get some healthy exercise, the sparkling new courts are open and available for the enjoyment of all Lincoln residents.
Jim Datzman is a Lincoln Parks and Recreation Committee member