Tennis providers and developers will have more opportunities to construct, expand and renovate tennis courts in their community with the introduction of new facility funding guidelines for 2019.
The USTA Facility Assistance program caters to a range of providers and community tennis organizations, from those looking to repair cracked courts at their local park to those dreaming of building a state-of-the-art, multi-court facility.
For 2019, the USTA has increased its funding levels up to $100,000, segmenting its financial assistance based on the number of courts that a facility is renovating or building. The USTA has also expanded its program into offering business development assistance for reconstruction projects, while continuing to offer world-class advocacy assistance, identification of potential partners and funding sources, and assessment of existing or planned facilities for every type of project.
“It is so great to see how the Facility Assistance program has blossomed since its inception in 2005,” says Virgil Christian, USTA senior director of Collegiate Tennis and Facility Development. “The expansion of the program shows that we are heavily invested in creating improved courts and tennis venues around the country.”
The needs of the tennis community are wide ranging when it comes to improving existing facilities or building new ones. There are many variables for public and private entities and Community Tennis Associations (CTAs) to consider, from budgeting and business planning, to design and infrastructure assessments.
While experts at scheduling, programming and managing the day-to-day needs of facilities, these organizations may not be familiar with details specific to tennis development. This is where the USTA's Facility Assistance team offers its most valuable benefit to the industry, by expanding tennis court development, increasing the life cycle of existing courts and having a significant direct effect on the growth of tennis participation throughout the country.
The USTA Facility Assistance program has already assisted several community programs across the nation, helping to grow the sport, increase play opportunities and raise revenue.
For instance, in Bay City, Mich., last year, the USTA awarded a $20,000 grant to the Bay City CTA to help complete its $500,000 project to build eight new wheelchair-accessible tennis courts. And in Kingsport, Tenn., last October, the USTA partially funded an initiative to resurface six asphalt tennis courts in Borden Park. The result was a renewed growth in the game.
“Through this partnership, a new era of tennis has begun on a multi-generational level,” says Robin Dimona, Kingsport Parks & Recreation assistant manager. “A lifetime sport for all has now seen resurgence, with tennis courts that are now safe and aesthetically pleasing. The weekly schedule includes senior-citizen groups playing in the morning, neighborhood and high school players in the afternoon, and league play at night and on the weekends. We are even seeing social tennis alternatives, where you meet new people and visit our downtown eateries after the matches. We are continuing to grow tennis in the Kingsport area and looking forward to working with the USTA on future opportunities.”
To be considered for project funding, communities must complete the USTA Facility Assistance Form and be actively engaged with the USTA Facility Assistance program by working with a USTA-appointed project consultant. In addition, communities must show their project meets specified industry standards and be able to demonstrate a financial need, while being able to meet at least 50 percent of the project cost.
To date, the USTA's Facility Assistance program has invested more than $12 million in communities through completing 7,240 projects nationwide. The program has contributed to $500 million worth of tennis infrastructure in the U.S., building or renovating 40,000 tennis courts. For more information, visit USTA.com/facilities.