Public-Access Platform Tennis arrives in Stone Harbor, NJ

August 7, 2021
Stone Harbor, NJ

Public-Access Platform Tennis arrives in Stone Harbor, New Jersey
If you are down the shore, it’s easy to reserve a court for sure

A small group of passionate paddle players embarked on a mission to bring paddle to Jersey’s south shore beaches. It started close to three years ago when Tom King, a Pennsylvania resident, put a proposal together to pitch to whatever town would listen. King was talking with a real estate friend and fellow player, and she told him to try Stone Harbor, which she described as progressive and open to new and exciting recreational activities.

King teamed up with some fellow paddle players and friends—Laura Owens, Julian Miraglia, Keith Studnick, and Greg and Alicia Eger—to get on Stone Harbor’s council schedule for a presentation. With strong backing from Stone Harbor’s Recreation Councilwoman Jennifer Gensemer, and Mayor Judith Davies-Dunhour, they slowly convinced the council that this fast-growing, multi-generational sport would not only bring racquet diversity to Stone Harbor but extend the shoulder seasons on both sides to generate more revenue for restaurants, merchants, and hotels. Because Stone Harbor is considered one of the top shore towns on the East Coast, it could quickly become a destination for pros to run yearly camps and clinics in the fall and early spring, as well as potentially host some professional tournaments like Drew Broderick’s Pro Flight Series, which taps the world’s top players for showdown competition. Most importantly, it also represents a growing need for public-access paddle, bringing the sport to a much broader audience and fueling it’s growth.

After many presentations and meetings, the council was finally ready to move. But then the pandemic hit in March of 2020 and things came to a halt. The group lost six months to Covid-19 restrictions, but the sport grew by leaps and bounds in popularity because it was one of the few sports that people could play outdoors when restrictions started easing.

In the fall of 2020, with renewed ambition, they sought an audience with the council and updated their presentation with new facts, statistics, and timelines. In May of 2021, the council voted, and it was all but unanimous. Stone Harbor would be building three brand-new paddle courts, with space for a fourth when budgets and fundraising make it possible. The team worked closely with the APTA during the process, securing a Grow the Game grant and getting support to stage exhibition matches and clinics.

Crews arrived in June and the courts were completed on July 23rd. The courts were built by Court Pro, headed by former President of the APTA Board Rob Coster. King and Owens credit Coster as being a critical part of making this project a reality. As excited as the borough was to move forward with this program, working with municipalities often comes with unique requirements. Coster was up to the challenge, even custom fabricating an installation plan that required no concrete footers while being able to withstand the 140 mile-per-hour wind speed requirements for structures in the borough.

Shore Paddle is here to stay. Come on down and play!

HOURLY COURT RESERVATIONS
Go to https://stoneharborrecreation.com/platform-tennis/ OR https://courtreserve.com/

DESTINATION PADDLE INTEREST
To reserve courts for destination paddle in Stone Harbor, contact Jenny Olson, Director of Tourism and Public Information at 609-368-5102 x340 or tourism@shnj.org.

SOCIAL MEDIA CONNECTIONS
Go to https://stoneharborrecreation.com OR download the TeamReach App—Stone Harbor Paddle/Group Code: SHPaddle

2021-stone-harbor-640

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