Tennis, anyone?

The first serve was a dandy.
Last week’s initial public conversation about a private/public partnership to build a new tennis court facility in Aurora sent a very positive signal that this concept is well on its way to reality. There is work to be done and money to be raised -- lots of it -- but the project looks to be off to a tremendous start.
Tennis enthusiasts have been silent for the past two years, though there had to be some frustration with the fact that there is literally no place to go play the game here in Aurora. When construction began on the new aquatic center, the first step in the process was to take out the two tennis courts that had been in Streeter Park for years. Game over, at least for a while.
City leaders pledged at the time that they would work to replace the courts once the pool was built and a group of local citizens made it easy to follow through with that promise. Using a formula that has worked well here before, local citizens took the lead on the project, doing some homework, creating a vision and then spelling out what steps are needed to make it happen.
The initial plan outlined at last week’s Aurora City Council meeting looks very doable at first glance. The site in Streeter Park is perfect, taking advantage of existing parking/rest room facilities while utilizing a very flat, visible locale. And there will be four courts instead of two, all surrounded by fencing and netting to create a more inviting atmosphere for tennis players of all levels.
On the city’s side of the net, it was both logical and feasible to donate the land and cover some of the upfront engineering/site prep costs, as well as on-going maintenance. Though there wasn’t a specific cost estimate on the table, we can’t think of a better use for that location, which if all goes as planned will soon fall under the city’s parks and recreation umbrella. That makes a lot of sense and represents a good use of taxpayer dollars.
The biggest challenge up front will be the private sector’s goal to raise between $250,000 and $500,000 in a relatively short amount of time. With support from local citizens, businesses and foundations, as well as the United States Tennis Association, this lofty goal seems within reach as well. We wish the group well in that endeavor.
With the first volley now in play, this group deserves credit for lighting the fire on a venture designed to put a missing piece back in Aurora’s recreation puzzle.
Kurt Johnson

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