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APTA Court Grants Proving Successful in Growing the Game
“…growing participation among all levels and types of players and across all regions…”
JUNE 29, 2009
The APTA is seeking more worthy platform tennis court projects from around the country to help fund – Are you interested?
Mindful that a stated mission of the APTA is to grow the great sport of platform tennis, as well as the quandary that it’s hard to justify courts if you don’t yet have players, and yet it’s hard to attract new players if you don’t have courts for them to play on, the Board of Directors of the APTA decided several years ago to experiment with a Grant Program. The concept was and is to solicit proposals for grants to help build publicly accessible platform tennis courts in areas where the sport has great growth potential.
The first grant was made in 2006 toward a pair of courts at the Chapel Hill Tennis Club. At the initiative of Rich Green, a NY transplant to this tennis rich area of North Carolina, this small and inexpensive tennis and swim club embraced Rich’s vision that they build courts and a program, as an experiment in adding a new wintertime activity. Three years later, by virtually any measure, the grant has proven wildly successful. Most encouraging, and as a direct result of Rich’s efforts, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has just built 3 courts on their campus.
A second and smaller grant was made to help refurbish a pair of courts in Buffalo, NY where their program had languished. One year in there is new life, great enthusiasm and quite a few new APTA members in return.
At this year’s annual meeting in May, the APTA Board of Directors voted YES to a grant proposal by the new owners of the Racquet Club of the South, in Atlanta, GA. RCS, as it is known, is a large, inexpensive indoor-outdoor tennis and junior teaching facility built in the early 70’s. Although previously highly successful, RCS had recently been struggling. Two NY transplants and paddle enthusiasts, Steve Gareleck and Remington Reynolds, took over the operating rights for the club, determined to make it viable again.
Through hard work, creative thinking, targeted investments and great support from both the USTA and the APTA, RCS is on the mend, membership is growing, the buzz is returning and two platform courts now stand tall in the front of the club for all to see. Rem will organize and captain an RCS team of the Peachtree Paddle League (www.peachtreepaddle.org), started from scratch by Peter Lauer in 2005 to grow the sport in Atlanta.
Peter, an APTA Board member, lifelong player and Pittsburgh native, commented on the wisdom of an APTA investment in Atlanta at RCS: “All the ingredients are here to make paddle boom – I think we could be the next Chicago and our vision is to hold the 2019 Nationals in Atlanta – we have bottomless tennis talent with organized leagues, 3 months of pleasantly cold weather, lots of Yankee transplants like Rem & Steve, and numerous huge public and semi public tennis venues like RCS spread around.
A big obstacle has been that 4 of our 5 courts in town are at fine country clubs, the 5th is in Steve’s backyard. We need much greater public access, plus geographic coverage since Atlanta is so large and spread out. For me the RCS project proposal was the perfect addition to our overall efforts, and I predict it will prompt other venues to build courts and create paddle programs.”