Parks and recreation commission seeking tennis grants

Aug. 14, 2014 @ 04:12 PM

Tennis lessons and practice courts could be coming to local schools in Vance County.

During a Henderson-Vance Parks and Recreation Commission on Thursday, board member Hilda Delbridge said she and others met with representatives from the United States Tennis Association about teaching tennis to kids younger than 10 years old.

A tentative day for teacher training has been set for Oct. 6, pending approval of Vance County Schools administration.

Representatives from the tennis association talked to the commission in April about a new program that would provide grants for building new courts and training for youth and coaches.

Delbridge said if the county could get 15 teachers to sign up for a teaching workshop, they would get a tennis set, which includes about 20 rackets, a portable net and some tennis balls.

“We need everyone to come out,” she said. “If we are going to do this, we have to have teachers to do it.”

Board member George Watkins said he consulted with the tennis association about getting grants for adding new courts to some of the elementary schools.

“I feel good about getting the grant,” he said.

He said new courts would cost around $35,000 to construct.

The commission is also moving forward with its adopt-a-park policy, which allows organizations in the community to do volunteer work at area parks.

Commission chairman Randy Oxendine said such a policy was a good thing because it would provide volunteers and mentors for the recreation and parks department.

Interim parks and recreation director Steve Osborne said city officials have reviewed the new policy and granted them permission to move forward.

He said some churches have already expressed interest in participating.

In other news:

• Osborne said the commission didn’t receive the $15,000 grant through the Francis Abbot Powers Endowment that would have provided new bathrooms at Fox Pond Park. The money was split among other organizations in the community — one being Area Christians Together in Service — instead.

• The Aycock Recreation Center is taking signups for fall sports through Saturday. Osborne said he is projecting an increase in registrations this year.

• The recreation center’s comprehensive plan was approved by the Henderson City Council and the Vance County Board of Commissioners and is ready to be implemented.

• Osborne could remain the interim director until December. He said he received a letter from the city saying interviewing for the position would be delayed until Vance County takes over managerial operations of the department. Vance County commissioners are currently looking to do so as early as October.

Contact the writer at dhairston@hendersondispatch.com.