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Tue, Dec. 10

Column: Prescott tennis facility rebuild will finally be a reality

It's been a long time coming, but around May 2014, it looks as if the tennis facility at Yavapai College known as Roughrider is going to be rebuilt and in a manner that will bring a new tennis beginning for the Prescott area that has been overdue by about 20 years.

The current six-court facility originally built in 1974 with a federal grant between Yavapai College and the City of Prescott has outlived its useful life and has been held together the past 19 years primarily by the efforts of private funding and community volunteers.

This special public hub for the mainstay of players the past 40 years has seen its share of college tennis players and match play, tournaments, clinics for adults and juniors, leagues, high school matches, Grand Prixs, drop-in-tennis, open play and even an occasional skate-boarder and soccer enthusiasts.

Since the early '90s the courts have heaved, shifted and cracked, been jack-hammered, repaired, re-surfaced, patched and painted. Underneath the paint and asphalt, the foundation has crumbled and the courts are beyond further attempts of redemption. Later this spring we will be patching cracks one last time.

During that time frame, the Prescott area population has grown four-fold. Participation in youth and adult/senior tennis continues to increase - as well as league play. Unfortunately, there are fewer public courts in Prescott today than in 1974.

With that said, the Prescott Area Tennis Association, in partnership with Yavapai College, needs your help to rebuild a new Roughrider Community Tennis Center. It will include:

• 7 USTA regulation-sized courts constructed in post-tension concrete - the longest possible court life-span.

• Added Center Court to allow exhibition play and an additional court for more players to enjoy.

• 10 and Under lines for beginner play.

• High-efficiency lighting.

• On-court armadas for shade and improved seating.

• New fencing with between-court barriers.

• Professional landscaping for improved access and spectators.

• A re-built and expanded Millie Ryan Center.

• ADA access.

• Donor recognition terrace.

• Expanded tennis programming.

• Nominal fees for daily play to fund regular maintenance.

Whether you are a player or fan, a fitness enthusiast, or a supporter of community recreation, you can help to create a lasting legacy for the future of public tennis in Prescott. Your gift to the Roughrider Community Tennis Project, through the Yavapai College Foundation, is tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. The foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization.

The project cost is $1,150,000 with Yavapai College funding $950,000 and the balance of $200,000 being fundraised by the PATA. There is construction target date of May 2014.

There are donor recognition levels that range from up to $249, $250 - $499, $500 - $999, $1,000 - $4,999, $5,000 and above. There are also naming opportunities available for individual courts and components.

The fundraising committee consists of the following people: Karen Spear, Bernie Adam, Jeff Champ, Jan Hasse, Steve LaFleur, Fay Matsumoto, Dick McGaw, Brad Newman, Paul Sadick, Allison Wood and myself.

If you're interested in sending a gift, or making a pledge for this once-in-a-lifetime tennis facility rebuild, checks are made payable to the Tennis Project, Yavapai College Foundation, 1100 Sheldon St., PMB 6904, Prescott, AZ 86301. (Federal Tax ID 23-7232985).

For questions or additional information please feel free to contact any of the committee members.

The game of tennis has meant a lot to a great number of us as kids, adults, senior and super-seniors. It's been a life-changer in more ways than just hitting a little ball over the net. If you've seen or felt its benefits, just maybe you'll feel inclined to help this endeavor along.

It's easy not to give, but we and the future of tennis in the Prescott area hope you'll feel inclined otherwise.

Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 40 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at 928-642-6775 or

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