The Houston Tennis Association, in partnership with the City of Houston, have negotiated a deal to resurface the courts with the assistance of grant funding.
Mike Blissard of the HTA said the group found a grant through the United States Tennis Association and approached Park and Rec Director, John Gravat, about partnering with the city for the 50 percent match. Mayor Stacey Parker said the Board of Aldermen approved the partnership at the Feb. 5 meeting.
“It’s a 50-50 grant,” Parker said. The lowest quote was $7,800 which puts our 50 percent at $3,900. The Houston Tennis Association had already raised $2,800 toward it and the city agreed to pick up the remaining $1,100.”
Blissard hopes the resurfacing will be the first step in a process to upgrade the existing courts and build additional facilities.
“That will take care of the first step,” Blissard said via email. “The next will be bleachers and benches. We are just taking it one step at a time. The final big push will be for additional courts which will have to be supported by the city, school, community and a national USTA grant.”
The tennis courts, as part of the park, are owned by the city and open to the public, and the high school tennis team uses the facilities regularly for practice and matches. However, the limited number of courts, two, make it difficult to compete with other schools and match times go well after dark.
“The school has had over 30 kids try out for tennis,” Blissard said. “I have never seen this much interest from Houston. We are the only 4A school that I know of that has only two courts. Most have six or more. Because of this we can’t host a high school district tournament or any USTA tournament.”
Parker said he hopes the resurfacing will be the catalyst for more improvements but also said the city will need partners to make upgrades to the courts.
“Maybe this will get it rolling for future improvements,” Parker said. “We’re going to explore more grants, but everybody needs to be on board.”
The HTA has hosted fundraising events and plans for more and donations are welcomed.