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Update on Improvements to Lee MS/HS Tennis Courts


Hello Tennis Friends,

This is an update on the Lee High School Tennis Court resurfacing and drainage improvement project.

Some of our members have noted that these are the best courts around and wonder why we are endeavoring to address such an extensive project, approaching $40,000 to $50,000.

I’ll try to address your concerns and perhaps gain your support for this challenging project.

First, a little background: This project is being driven by the new USTA Ten and Under Tennis program, which the Lee CTA successfully instituted this past year. We happily saw 88 children, age 5 to 10 years, progress through this program over the spring and summer.  We want to keep these children in the game; our measure of success is our rate of retention! These are the children who feed into our JR Team Tennis Program and also the high school tennis teams. (Incidentally, we also had 29 children playing on our U14 & U18 JTT teams this past year.)

National studies have proven that children, who are introduced to game play as soon as possible, enjoy tennis the most. Another finding is that being on a team brings more fun to a sport and encourages the growth of good sportsmanship. In order to encourage team play, we need to provide the right-sized courts: 36’ for the younger and 70’ for the older. On these smaller courts, the kids can have longer rallies and more exciting points. The USTA offers grants covering 100% of the cost for these QuickStart blended lines. The Lee Schools are endorsing this effort and the Lee CTA is in the process of securing the funds.

Keep in mind that routine maintenance requires that courts usually have surface cracks sealed and a few coats of color applied every 5-8 years. The Lee HS tennis courts were built in 2000 and have never been resurfaced. They’ve actually stood up very well, but there is some cracking and the surface needs resealing to prevent further, more costly, deterioration. 

Obviously, it makes no sense to paint new lines on a defective surface. Learning that the USTA offered a Facilities Assistance Grant, I began the application process in late August. One of the pre-requisites is that the applicant plans to paint the blended lines and continue to develop players for at least 5 years. Luckily, this requirement fits right in with the Lee CTA vision of growing the game. 

Now comes the big challenge, some findings that nearly doubled the cost of the project. When applying for the USTA Facilities Assistance Grant, the court technicians suspected that the cracks were most likely due to poor drainage. The recommendation from two civil engineering firms were in agreement that indeed there was some undermining of the northwest court due to the lack of proper drainage on two sides of the perimeter, where steep slopes border the courts.

As we near the grant application deadline of Jan. 21, we are zeroing in on the actual cost and the full funding is falling into place.

If our application is approved, the USTA National will provide 20% of the total cost. The USTA New England Section has already sent us $7500 and USTA/WMA is considering matching the National grant. The Lee CTA is contributing $2500. With practically $30,000 in hand, I approached the Town of Lee Selectmen, who approved $5000 at last Tuesday’s board meeting, subject to approval by the Lee Finance Committee at this Wednesday’s meeting. The Lee School Committee will consider contributing $5000 at their meeting on Tuesday evening. With the leverage of these public funds, we should be successful in seeking the balance from local corporate sponsors.

As a member of the Lee CTA, I’m sure that you know that the Lee CTA is a 501c3 MA charitable corporation, a USTA Organization Member, as well as an NJTL Chapter. Our mission is to provide facilities and coordinate instructive and competitive tennis programs for youth and adults from Lee and surrounding towns. We hope that you’ll share in our excitement about bringing this project to fruition – insuring that this beautiful six court public facility is preserved for you, your children, grandchildren and generations to come.

We are welcoming contributions to this project. If everyone receiving this email were to contribute $10 or whatever amount you deem appropriate, we would secure the full funding needed. There are additional improvements to our facilities which we could implement if sufficient funds are received. Some of those under consideration are shade structures, benches, steps and ADA accessibility, ball machine, etc.

Please CLICK HERE if you wish to contribute to this project.

Thank you for your support!

 Bunnie Lahey, Founder & Administrator


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Youth Fund

The Steve Hornbeck Scholarship Fund provides financial assistance so that no child is denied access to our tennis programs due to cost.

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Tennis Facility Fund

This fund supports our tennis courts and overall tennis infrastructure.

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College Scholarship Fund

This fund provides $1000 to four Lee High School and Lenox High School graduates who have participated in Lee CTA leagues and programs and demonstrated a commitment to the organization and community.

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