Scalzi Park -- Public Park of the Year
With the National Public Parks Tennis Championships coming into town in July 2005, the Greater Stamford Tennis Association in Stamford, Conn., wanted to put its best foot forward for the tournament and the host city. And in doing so, the GSTA made huge strides in revamping a popular public tennis facility, with a $400,000 renovation of 12 courts, lighting, and fencing that took less than a year to complete.
Scalzi Park is the hub of public park tennis in Connecticut’s lower Fairfield County, but it was looking a bit run down. Through a contract with the City of Stamford, the GSTA was made a general contractor of the renovation project, allowing them to put it out to bid. Stamford accepted the final renovation as a donation. “It was a little bit unique in that sense, but a great example of a public/private partnership,” says Laurie Albano, Stamford’s superintendent of recreation.
“The city government was as committed to getting it done as we were,” says GSTA President Tim Curry. For both the unique process that allowed this to happen, and to a first-class result, Scalzi Park has won RSI’s inaugural Public Park of the Year Award.
The city pitched in more than $100,000, and various departments helped oversee the improvements. An additional $84,000 came from the USTA’s Public Facility Funding program, and funds came from USA Tennis New England and public and private donations. According to Curry, word-of-mouth was one of the most significant means of spreading the news of the renovation.
To Marcia Bach, coordinator of Park & Recreation Tennis for the USTA, the Scalzi Park renovation “was a template full of cooperation within a community structure.”
Scalzi Park’s tips for success
- When it comes to renovations, explore whether a public/private partnership will work.
- Convince the city that a healthy park tennis program is good for the community.
- Spread the word about the renovation project.
See all articles by Kristen Daley
About the Author
Kristen Daley is a contributing editor for RSI magazine.