Column: Local tennis lover honored by USTA
We have a person in the Prescott area who has done more for tennis the past 10 years than maybe anyone else.
His impact has been a godsend.
He and his wife moved to Prescott in 1998, built a house, and in his down time, was looking for a place to play some tennis.
He came out to our drop-in group at Yavapai College and liked it, but he noticed that the courts were in dire need of repair.
We have six asphalt courts with lights and that were built in the early 70's.
Although the city and college co-owned them much of the time, they were not a priority in terms of maintenance.
Crisis management would best describe how they were taken care of, not unlike many of our public facilities across the country.
This special man I came to know, George Reynolds, had me walk the facility, and it was easy to see the upper two courts were ready to be shut down due to cracks in the surface.
The four lower courts also had cracks and none of the courts had been resurfaced in more than seven years.
He did some research, then suggested we go have a talk with the entities that had a budget to help bring these courts back to life.
Naturally they said they wanted to do what they could, but there was no real budget.
So, Reynolds told them if they paid for the materials he would gather volunteers and tackle the job himself.
I was a bit skeptical that he could, or should, take on this job, not to mention what the outcome might be.
But he did.
Reynolds rounded up the volunteers and jack-hammered the heaved and root strewn parts out of the upper courts so they were level, then filled them with concrete.
All the cracks were opened up, cleaned outand filled.
The courts were scraped, washed and painted.
New nets were purchased, the shed was repainted and new life was breathed into the Roughrider Tennis Center.
The savings to the college and City was in the neighborhood of $30-40 thousand.
That was just his first project.
Since that time he has been on the board of the Prescott Area Tennis Association in various capacities, on the board for the Millie Ryan Tennis Trust Fund and involved in every aspect of tennis improvements and programs that have taken place in the Prescott area.
Here are some of the projects he and his volunteers have taken on:
- Annual crack filling and patching of the Yavapai College courts.
- Expanding the tennis shed to twice it's size. It now has a nice patio wheelchair ramp and landscaping of the grounds. There are also new benches on each court with trash cans.
- Recently he helped get bids to have the courts replaced at the college, and then the economy took a bad turn.
Still, the courts were resurfaced completely new nets were installed and all the cracks were filled by Reynolds and his volunteers.
- He rebuilt the backboard at the college and painted it.
- He built the backboard at Prescott High.
- He helped push to get the courts replaced at PHS.
- He designed the new tennis shed at PHS, then ordered the materials and built it.
- He has redesigned the interior of the sheds with shelves for storing all the items we have to make them as useful as possible.
- Many of the local subdivisions use Reynnolds as a source for the problems their own facilities have. Many times he will take the time to help them, just has he has at his subdivision at Prescott Ranch.
- The squeegees even have special racks to hold them in place. Not to mention he fixes the broken squeegees and ball hoppers every time the welds break.
Reynolds is a renaissance man, and we're lucky his wife Flo is willing to share him.
Every tennis facility should be lucky enough to have a Reynolds, and there is no one more deserving to receive the "Lifetime Achievement Award" from the USTA Northern Arizona Tennis Association.
We all thank you George.
Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 35 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at 445-1331 or firstname.lastname@example.org