Hazel ParkJuly 16, 2014
USTA awards grant for tennis courts to Hazel Park school district
By Andy Kozlowski
C & G Staff Writer
HAZEL PARK — Those who enjoy playing tennis, or who want to learn how, haven’t had many options in the city of Hazel Park — until now.
Hazel Park High now has six new tennis courts, replacing the previous courts that had deteriorated to the point of being unusable. The courts at Hazel Park High are the only ones in the city of Hazel Park and are available to anyone who wants to use them.
The previous courts, dating back to 1961, had been on the north side of the building. They were torn down and turned into the new baseball facilities, part of the $2.6 million athletic complex project that also includes a new football field, track and more.
The new courts are located on the south side of the building, replacing an underused parking lot. In keeping with the current trend, the court surfaces are blue with green out-of-bounds areas and white line markings. The courts are 78 feet long and 38 feet wide.
The tennis courts cost about $300,000 overall. To offset the cost, the Hazel Park school district applied for a grant through the United States Tennis Association. Recently, they were awarded the grant for $25,000.
“Part of the grant deal was the city had to cooperate and come up with a summer tennis program, which they did,” said Fred Nix, owner’s representative for the district.
The Hazel Park Community Youth Tennis Program kicked off July 8 with 22 players, several volunteers and multiple parents. The program is a cooperative effort between the schools, the city’s recreation department, the USTA Southeast Michigan District, and the USTA Midwest Section.
“The USTA Facilities Assistance Program is a great way for communities to access support for growing tennis locally,” said George Lowe, Hazel Park’s local contact for the USTA grant, in an email. “Many communities in Michigan are utilizing the program to advocate for new tennis facilities and, in the process, launch incredibly popular tennis programs for all ages. Congratulations to Hazel Park!”
Work on the courts began this past fall and wrapped this spring. Construction stopped during the rough winter months. All that remains to be done now are some finishing touches on the gates and other fixtures. The courts are fully operational and have already seen extensive use by the girls tennis team at Hazel Park High.
“The tennis courts, since they’re removed physically from the major complex on the other side, were the last things to be constructed, since we needed to get the major complex finished first: the football field, track, baseball, softball and so forth, since they’re all in one package,” Nix said.
He explained that in order to qualify for the USTA grant, the school had to show that tennis was virtually nonexistent in the area — due to a lack of facilities — and that the school had plans to construct courts that would address this need.
“We applied for this grant more than a year ago,” Nix said. “We were persistent, followed all of the steps, and did what they asked for. Now we’ve got it.
“This only benefits the community,” Nix added. “Tennis, similar to golf, is a lifetime activity, and now we can offer it when, before, we didn’t have any (usable) tennis courts.”
Hazel Park High School, 23400 Hughes, can be reached at (248) 658-5100.