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Delaware Courts Back in the Game

June 13, 2012 11:26 AM
The tennis courts at the Charter School of Wilmington were empty when USTA Middle States Delaware District President Paul Costello’s phone rang one afternoon last spring. It only took a few months to breathe life into them once again.
Along with assistance from the USTA and the organizational efforts of the Delaware District, the Charter School of Wilmington rebuilt its tennis courts last summer, transforming the old, run-down courts into what is now one of the finest facilities in the area.
"The best way to explain it," said Costello, "is that the courts were virtually unplayable. The net posts were out of the ground, and the cracks were large and filled with weeds. There was no way any tennis could be played."
The process began when a student’s mother called Costello to talk about the courts at the Charter School, wondering if there was anything the USTA could do to help out. At that point, the courts weren’t being used at all by the school or anyone around the area. Instead, kids on the tennis team were bused to a park 15 minutes away to practice and play their matches.
So Costello met with the school’s athletic director and educated him on the USTA Public Facility Assistance process. After deciding that the school district could find some money for the project, things started moving along quickly.
Costello got Matt Jacobs, President of SportBuilders Inc, to provide a quote for resurfacing and fixing the courts. Just like that, the facilities grant went through, and the resurfacing began. The project was finished by August, and the courts are now being used each day by the high school, and for local USTA programs.
"It was really a win-win," said Costello. "Part of the deal is that USTA (Delaware District) gets to use the courts when the high school isn’t, so we have USTA Leagues playing on certain nights, and clinics and tournaments planned for the summer. It’s a great partnership."
Lately, making local court improvements at high schools has become a common practice in Delaware. After such a successful renovation at Wilmington, others started to take notice. Newark High School was in a similar situation and also looked into it.
"We started the process with Newark High School in January, and in late March we heard that they got a USTA grant," said Costello. "The courts were completed in May and we already have them scheduled for Leagues, 10 and Under Tennis, Jr. Team Tennis and more."
"This is a model that we have now," Costello added, "and we’re looking at even more schools and facilities in the area that can get on board and help grow the game."
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