Public Park of the Year: Kiest Park
In the spring of 2010, the Dallas Tennis Association teamed up with Dallas Parks and Recreation, USTA National and USTA Texas to convert the city’s eight courts in the 70-year-old Kiest Park into a 10 and Under Tennis facility featuring 12 stand-alone 36-foot courts alongside four 78-foot courts with 60-foot blended lines.
The courts, which were in disarray three years ago, are now booming with activity. “We have 350 to 425 juniors enrolled in fall and spring programs,” says Bert Cole, DTA’s Junior Recreation Director.
Clint Laukhuf, DTA’s Junior Team Tennis coordinator, sees firsthand the excitement kids feel. “Kids are in a rush to play on [the blended-line] courts, but when you see their faces the first time they set eyes on the stand-alone courts, it’s real tennis [for] them.”
Laukhuf utilizes the courts for season-end tournaments, where about 150 kids grab racquets and play matches. “It’s such a great experience,” says Laukhuf, who feels the stand-alone 36-foot courts generate renewed excitement while cultivating a stronger commitment, which leads to continued play.
“We’re very fortunate,” says Amanda Shaw, USTA Texas field officer for 10 and Under Tennis, “Kiest Park is the only area in our state where we have 10 and Under Tennis stand-alone courts.”
“The USTA is proud to have played a part in the development in Kiest Park,” says Kurt Kamperman, the USTA’s chief executive of Community Tennis. “Our design and technical advice are part of our longstanding effort to support the growth of tennis programming across the country, and the DTA’s vision to implement Youth Tennis at Kiest Park should be commended.”
Tips for Success
- Free, free, free! “Every Sunday afternoon for four hours, we have a tennis pro teaching beginning lessons to any resident who shows up,” Cole says. “Once we built the new courts, suddenly everyone wanted to play!”
- Partner with other organizations. When you offer tennis to other groups, they bring their own ideas to the table.
- Go for the stand-alone courts. When budgets allow it, stand-alone 36- and 60-foot courts underscore the excitement kids feel about tennis.
See all articles by Robin Bateman
About the Author
Robin Bateman is the site coordinator for the Tattnall Tennis Center in Macon, Ga., where she coordinates tennis program and leagues, is a tournament director, serves as a team captain, and assists junior teams competing at district, regional, and section events.
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