Public Park of the Year: Dwight Davis T.C.
Located in St. Louis’s Forest Park, one of the largest municipal parks in the country, Dwight Davis Tennis Center is a beehive of activity — from grassroots to the pros.
The 19 courts, including a 1,700-seat stadium, are home to the St. Louis Aces of the World TeamTennis Pro League, but also play host to high school and college events, USTA district and section events, leagues, major junior tournaments and many other events. In 2010, the DDTC hosted the USTA US Open Wheelchair Tournament and the National Public Parks Tennis Tournament. And it’s involved with philanthropic programs, including “Just Us,” a foundation that enables inner-city kids to learn tennis.
Dwight F. Davis, a St. Louis parks commissioner and resident — and donor of the famed Davis Cup — spent his life working to make tennis available to all. The DDTC, while it has all the amenities of a private club, is indeed open to all, with a range of programs for all ages and abilities. And for its ability to generate players and fans, and keep them engaged, the Dwight Davis Tennis Center is RSI’s Public Park of the Year.
The DDTC’s board of directors asked St. Louis native Dan Apted to be the center’s director in 2004. “About 10,000 people come through the center during the summer and there’s a huge commitment by the board and the center’s supporters,” says board member Rick Zaegel. “Dan loves tennis and has made the facility extremely fan-friendly.”
“The greatest part of the facility is that it’s in magnificent Forest Park,” says Apted. “Nothing has a setting like Dwight Davis.”
Tips for success
- A staff of dedicated people help ensure that events are well-run.
- A facility has to be welcoming for everyone, with excellent amenities.
- It helps to have a beautiful location that draws people in.
See all articles by Cynthia Sherman
About the Author
Cynthia Sherman is a contributing editor for RSI magazine.