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Florida Tennis Center Survives

September 24, 2007 01:15 PM

After months of advocating on behalf of the 24-court Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach, home to the United States Tennis Association, Florida section, we are pleased to announce that the Florida Tennis Center will remain open for business in 2008!  The City of Daytona Beach has agreed to run the facility at the same first-class standards and provide the center with the same level of support as years past.

For the past few months, the Florida Tennis Center and its employees had been under attack by the city commission, who was forced to cut money from its 2008 budget due to statewide property tax rollbacks by the Florida Legislature in June. 

Rumoring to close the tennis center October 1 because it was too costly to run, members of USTA Florida and the tennis center simply stated that was unnecessary.  The tennis center, along with other city parks, recreation, public tennis courts and services have been go-to targets for city government leaders as a simple way to save money.  Saving and making money is important, but sometimes you can’t put a price on living an active life and having fun doing what you love; in this case, it is playing tennis.

A Tennis Facility Task Force, organized by USTA Florida had been attending city meetings and talking to city officials; promoting the need for the Florida Tennis Center, its employees and USTA Florida’s presence in the City of Daytona Beach.  Members from the Hotel and Motel Association of Volusia County rallied around USTA Florida, stressing the economic impact USTA tournaments have on local business, especially because they are held between the city’s major racing and motorcycle events.  In addition, USTA Florida league players have written hundreds of letters to Daytona Beach Mayor Glenn Ritchey in support of playing matches at the Florida Tennis Center.  

On Wednesday, September 19, concern turned to relief as the city of Daytona Beach voted to include $580,000 in the city’s 2008 budget for the tennis center, the amount they originally intended to cut from the budget, effective October 1.  Although this is not a permanent solution, it gives the tennis center more time to reach its potential, gain more members and become self-sustaining.
“Hearing that the city is going to maintain the club at the same high level is encouraging,” said USTA Florida executive director, Doug Booth.  In fact, commissioners even congratulated the "tennis folks" for the outstanding job they have done in providing awareness to the commission and the community on what an asset the tennis facility is to the city. 

Booth added, “Without a doubt something has to be done and the city commissioners showed good wisdom by giving everybody a year to step back and look at all the options out there to keep all 24 courts in operation.”

A $1 million offer by USTA Florida to buy the facility from the city is still on the table; but for now, scheduled USTA tournaments in 2008 will be finalized and Florida Tennis Center players can let go of their worries, thanks in part to huge advocating efforts by many in the area. 
As Daytona Beach News-Journal columnist Dick Evans wrote, “There should be a 24-gun salute – one for each clay court – at the Florida Tennis Center on Oct. 1 to celebrate saving the ultra-modern facility from doom!” 






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