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New Port Richey Rec Center Opens Resurfaced Tennis Courts

October 9, 2008 09:20 AM

City Mayor, City Council and Community Attend Ribbon Cutting Ceremony 

Tennis enthusiasts in Pasco County can now celebrate because the New Port Richey Recreation Center opened its four newly resurfaced tennis courts to the public on Oct. 7. Lifetime resident, tennis player and Mayor of New Port Richey, Scott McPherson, attended a ribbon cutting ceremony in the morning at the New Port Recreation Center to show support for the grand opening of the new tennis courts. Other attendees included city council members, New Port Richey city manager Tom O’Neal, Pasco County Tennis Foundation board members, USTA Florida representatives, Parks & Recreation staff and city residents. It has been 17 years since the tennis courts have been renovated.

Funding for the renovated tennis courts was made possible by a collaboration between the city council, Pasco County Tennis Foundation (PCTF) and United States Tennis Association, Florida Section (USTA Florida). The city council approved $15,000 of Community Redevelopment Funds towards the project, while the PCTF raised approximately $3,000 through fundraising efforts.  USTA Florida then matched the total amount of $18,000 through a community grant.

“Without the matching grant from USTA Florida, this never would have been possible,” said Elaine Smith, director of Parks and Recreation, City of New Port Richey. “We just wouldn’t have had the funding to do it.”

Mayor Scott McPherson echoed her thoughts. “The USTA has a grant program and because of grant money through them, we were able to do this project,” he said. “There was, of course, some private contributors and city money, but a large part of it was because of the USTA. So all the credit in the world to them and we appreciate so much receiving that benefit here in New Port Richey.”

The entire project to resurface the tennis courts took one year, and there are more planned improvements.

“This is just the beginning,” said Christina Hill, president of PCTF. “Besides resurfacing the courts, we are going to put up new fencing, and with the fencing we are going to have windscreens. The lights are going to be fixed, as well as the landscaping around the courts, and there will be a new water fountain. We want to make this a facility that the whole community can be proud of.”

Smith explained that before the ribbon cutting ceremony, community residents told her that they couldn’t wait to use the new courts.

Judy DeBella Thomas, councilwoman and executive director of New Port Richey Main Street, emphasized the importance of having the right equipment to match the increased participation in tennis. According to the Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association, tennis is the fastest growing traditional sport over a seven year change from 2000 to 2007.

“When you are learning a sport, it is important to have the right equipment, right tools and certainly the right environment,” Thomas said. “This is definitely a tremendous asset to the community and the Parks & Recreation advisory board has been a tremendous asset to the council as far bringing it to our attention the essentials that needed to happen.”

USTA Florida Region 3 Community Coordinator, Jeff Davis, briefly spoke about how obliged USTA Florida is to assist the community with this project. USTA members can be proud to know that 90% of their membership dollars go directly back into helping community projects like this one.

“We are proud at USTA Florida to be part of a facility like this and bettering your community,” he said. “Through partnership and collaboration among organizations is how anything at the community level gets done.”

Mayor McPherson officially opened the tennis courts for play when he tossed a ball up high and whacked a serve in; it was the first ball hit on any of the polished new courts.

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