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Tennis instructor wants to develop community

“As a dad, I’m always looking for things for my kids to do in a safe place,” says Levi Patton, club manager and director of tennis at Brookhill on Natchez. “I’m thankful that I get to work here, where I can provide that for not only my kids, but for other families in the Brookhaven community.”

Patton has worked at Brookhill since the spring of 2016. He commuted from Brandon for the past two years, but recently moved his family to Brookhaven. After spending time getting to know the community, he knew it was the perfect place for he and his wife, Lana, to continue raising their two young children, Luke and Lyndi. “Plus,” he said, “my drive to work is 5 minutes instead of an hour.”

Patton brings to Brookhill a wealth of experience. After playing college tennis, he started his coaching career as the head men’s and women’s tennis coach at Belhaven University in 2008. In the eight years tenure, he was voted Southern College Coach of the Year and had the most overall wins as a coach in the tennis program’s history.

Patton’s love for tennis coincides with his love of business and sports administration, and this caught the eye of Johnny Lynch. They quickly found that the mission of Brookhill on Natchez lined up perfectly for a career move Patton wanted to make. Lynch said, “It was important to me to find someone to manage not only the day to day activities at Brookhill, but also someone that I could trust with the most precious thing in each of our lives — our children.”

Opened in 2004, Brookhill on Natchez boasts of six hard tennis courts, two clay courts, and a shaded, raised spectator area located in the middle. It hosts Brookhaven High School and Brookhaven Academy tennis matches, in addition to multiple Level 4 and Level 5 USTA of Mississippi tournaments. But the club isn’t exclusively for tennis players; there’s also a pool with a 7-foot Vortex waterslide, shaded seating, a playground, walking trail and disk golf.

“The mission of Brookhill is to be a family-focused facility, where our members and their kids can feel safe all over the property — on the courts, in the pool, or running around the five acres. We want families to treat Brookhill like their own backyard.”

“And that’s what drew me to Brookhaven. Living in a larger town, it’s easy to go about your day, and have surface relationships with your neighbors or people you see out and about. After working in Brookhaven and now living here, relationships are deeper, and in turn, you watch out for each other. I believe Brookhill provides a place to do just that — where you can enjoy and develop friendships, but also feel safe letting your kids run around, because you know everyone is watching out for everyone else.”

It’s with the facility’s mission in mind that two new features have been added: a 50-by-75 foot putting green, and a 2,000 square foot splash pad. The putting green was completed in October, and the splash pad will be open in time to enjoy it this summer.

“I wanted something for the spouses or parents of my tennis players to do during drills and matches. Instead of staying home, they can come as a family and there would be something for everyone to do,” said Patton.

The putting green is the only synthetic green in the area, so weather conditions are never an issue. It has 10 holes that allow golfers to work on different angles.

The fenced-in splash pad will be adjacent to the pool, featuring over 50 spray nozzles creating different types of sprays. A large shower nozzle and three 7-foot tall water rings will complete the play area. There will also be a shaded seating area for parents.

“The splash pad will provide more variety of water activities for the children and will allow more room in the pool and seating area,” he said.

The splash pad will operate from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Patton sees the opportunities to develop community to be as vast as Brookhill’s acreage. “I’m adding more tennis mixers, movie nights on the lawn during the summer, possibly arts and crafts activities for the kids, social activities, lawn games. We’ve got the facilities for all of this, and I’m excited to plan ways for our members to grow closer as a family and as a community.”

Story by Sarah Reynolds