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Mary and Frances Youth Center unveils upgraded tennis courts

Renovation included $10,000 grant from U.S. Tennis Association

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Children enjoy the new courts.

Tennis courts at the Mary and Frances Youth Center have received a major upgrade thanks to a renovation partially supported by the United States Tennis Association.

The center completed the $34,000 refurbishment of its two 8-year-old outdoor hard courts last week. The project included resurfacing the courts and installing new nets and a training backboard. Windscreens were added, as were powder-blue QuickStart lines that shrink the size of the playing surface for younger children.

“We were starting to see cracks, some divots and low spots in the court,” said Rachel Rhoney, assistant director at the center. “We knew it was time to do some kind of work. These courts support not just our programs, but the greater community and VCU as well.”

Planning for the project began about a year ago, Rhoney said. A $10,000 grant from USTA Facility Assistance helped complete the renovation, which was funded by the center and VCU Recreational Sports.

"The USTA Facility Assistance program is one of our largest nationwide advocacy initiatives," said Morgan Abrams-Nicholas, adult recreation manager for the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section. "It is important for the USTA to provide a program such as this because it streamlines with our mission to support growing and developing the sport of tennis."

Tennis courts at the Mary and Frances Youth Center after the renovation project, at left, and prior to the renovation, at right. The center's courts now include QuickStart lines that shrink the size of the playing surface for younger children.
Tennis courts at the Mary and Frances Youth Center after the renovation project, at left, and prior to the renovation, at right. The center's courts now include QuickStart lines that shrink the size of the playing surface for younger children.

The MYFC courts serve several purposes, including as host site for the Lobs and Lessons youth enrichment after-school and summer programs and the Discovery Summer Program. That’s why the QuickStart lines were an important addition, Rhoney said.

“It helps with programming because it keeps the facility up-to-date,” she said. “The QuickStart lines help us modify to a 36-foot court or a 60-foot court depending on the age range of the kids. It’s really a huge bonus.”

Registration is open and filling fast for both Lobs and Lessons and the Discovery Summer Program, Rhoney said. Course descriptions for the discovery program — which focuses on career exploration for local middle school students — are available online and include classes in culinary arts and health sciences, urban planning, fitness and other disciplines in the arts and sciences.

The center is also running a pilot program for a new camp this summer in partnership with The First Tee of Greater Richmond, Rhoney said.

“It’s called Young Aces Camp,” she said. “Kids do golf in the morning and then they come here in the afternoon for tennis and swimming. We’re excited about that new partnership and piloting that camp.”

 

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