As the City of Tega Cay grows, so does its recreation programs.
Eight years ago, Tega Cay's recreation program didn't have a lot to offer. The sports they did offer was baseball, boys soccer, and a swim team. Well, all three of those sports are still around, but the city also now offers girls softball, girls soccer, lacrosse and football on in addition to those other sports.
The city is even hoping to form a junior tennis league in the coming years.
When Tega Cay Operations Director Charlie Funderburk was first hired as recreation director in 2000, there was a total of 230 kids in the recreation program, most of who Funderburk said he knew. Now that number is up to 850 kids and Funderburk admits he doesn't know them all. Of course, no one would expect that now.
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Funderburk said as Tega Cay grows, he wants to start offering services -- not just sports related -- that cater specifically to seniors and those with disabilities.
In the past eight years, the program has grown by 25 percent, Funderburk estimates.
"All of our youth sports have gone through the roof," he said.
Participation in sports in Tega Cay has went up by 10 to 15 percent every year since the department started and last year went up 20 percent. But those numbers could pale in the coming years with the opening of Catawba Park.
Catawba Park, located on a newly annexed portion of Tega Cay off New Gray Rock Road, will be on 70 acres and feature four baseball fields and four multipurpose fields that can be used for sports such as football, lacrosse and soccer. The parks should come online within three years.
Funderburk said that within five years, he expects the current number of kids to double and could easily reach up to 1,700 making Tega Cay Recreation the largest recreation program north of the Catawba River, second only to Rock Hill in York County.
"As far as quality of programs, we will be second to none," he said. "We want to offer the best. We are on the cusp of blowing recreation wide open. We have gone from being just a mention to a key player in the county."
Tega Cay has grown so much, it is even having to split with the Fort Mill Little League program, known as FM/TC Little League, and is starting its own Little League. Not because it wants to, but because the number of teams will be too many for just one league to handle.
"It's a numbers thing," Funderburk said. "For our participants, we felt it was best to provide that type of focus for them. We are very grateful for the opportunity Leroy Springs (Recreation Complex) gave us. Without them, we would have survived."
One thing that Tega Cay Recreation does offer that other recreation departments in York County don't is online registration. People can register by going to www.tegacayrec.com.
"We try to make it as convent as possible," said Joey Blethen, recreation coordinator. "The communication level is next too none."
Trent Tursi, who is helping to start the lacrosse program in Tega Cay, said he has seen other recreation departments grow in the past and said the city is on the verge of something big.
"The support from the city is great," Tursi said. "They don't wait. You tell them something or you ask them something and they act. They don't wait around for weeks."