After years of delay, new tennis courts open in Binghamton in memory of former player
The city of Binghamton recently unveiled Recreation Park’s newly renovated tennis courts. The courts were named after 16-year-old Harper Stantz, a local high school student who was killed near the park.
In 2019, Stantz was walking home from playing tennis in Recreation Park with a friend when she was struck and killed by a car. The driver, who was under the influence of heroin, was sentenced to five to ten years in prison.
Stantz played on the Binghamton High School tennis team. The new tennis courts, named the Harper M. Stantz Memorial Courts, were decorated with yellow flowers during the unveiling, because yellow was her favorite color.
Tennis teams from both Binghamton and Seton schools played on the newly dedicated court after a first volley by Harper’s father and grandfather.
Harper's father Marty Stantz said the tennis courts at Rec Park were a part of his childhood, as well as Harper’s.
“So the fact that [the tennis courts] will have Harper's name, that will keep her memory going, hopefully for many hundreds of years, or at least until they stop playing tennis around here,” Marty Stantz said.
Her mother Patty Stantz said while Harper wasn’t the best tennis player, she was a joy to be around and loved being part of the team.
“She really was a beacon of happiness and sunshine. She just exuded living life to the fullest,” Patty Stantz said.
Former Binghamton Mayor Rich David first announced the tennis courts would be upgraded in 2020. But renovations have been delayed by flooding and construction issues.
In February, the city started the latest round of work on the tennis courts, as well as a new pickleball court.