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GPTA Members, Sponsors work Toward Renovation of Atlanta’s ‘Grand Lady’

Atlanta—June, 2007 Atlanta’s Bitsy Grant Tennis Center is named for Bryan M. Grant Jr., nicknamed “Bitsy” because of his 5- foot, 4-inch frame. He became one of the world’s most illustrious tennis players, a “giant-killer” on the courts. Before his death in 1986, he was a fixture at the center, always ready for a match and a champion of the center’s “everyone can play” credo. The clubhouse was built in 1952, and the architect received an architectural award in 1954. In recent years, the tennis center has shown signs of wear. Today, the 60-year-old plumbing, heating and electrical system need a complete overhaul. The locker rooms are sub-
standard. Lord, Aeck and Sargent, a local archi tectural firm, designed a complete renovation for the clubhouse.

Recently, GPTA member Betty Wolfrom took the time to outline the progress and needs of Atlanta’s Bitsy Grant Tennis Center. “Maybe this information will help GPTA members understand the renovation of Bitsy Grant Tennis Center. Perhaps, some member or members may know how to get this project completed. It is a long range plan to be done in five phases.” According to Wolfrom, one of the questions frequently asked is, “This is a public park;, shouldn’t the City of Atlanta pay for the renovation?” The City of Atlanta has already made an investment of almost $2 million in the project. The tennis courts have been restored, which are state of the art, and major improvements to the parking lot also have been completed. Combining their investment with building renovation makes this a $4 million project.

According to the City of Atlanta, says Wolfrom, there is no money for the renovation of the clubhouse. The City of Atlanta completed phases I and II; phase III is the lower level that houses the locker rooms; phase IV is for offices; phase V is for the
Georgia Tennis Hall of Fame that will be upstairs.

GPTA Founder and Hall of Fame member Peter Howell has worked hard toward this end as well. In March of 2006, GPTA reported that Howell, as president of the Bitsy Grant Tennis Association, Inc., applied for and received a $100,000 grant from the United States Tennis Association’s Tennis in the Parks Program to renovate the Historic Bitsy Grant Center. It is the largest grant awarded by USTA, a GPTA sponsor. The 10 hard courts have been resurfaced completely in “USTA Blue,” and the 13 clay courts have been rebuilt with the new hydrocourt underground watering system. New lights were installed on six clay courts. This was done at a cost of about $900,000. The building is the last piece of the puzzle to return Bitsy Grant to its place as a premier tennis center in the country

Phases & Costs Breakdown:
Phase I: Parking lot and drainage improvements—$960,000 Completed
Phase II: Rebuild courts and add lighting—$946,000 Completed
Phase III: Renovate clubhouse, lower level locker rooms—$800,000 and $179,000 (plus approximately $5,000 in Spring donations from ALTA teams)
Phase IV: Renovate clubhouse upper level—$900,000
Phase V: Renovate the Hall of Fame exhibits—$394,000

Corporations, foundations, individuals and other tennis associations have been approached, says Wolfrom. Spring 2007 was a first step in asking all captains of ALTA and USTA teams for their support. There are 110 teams that play out of Bitsy Grant.
If each team contributed $1,000, then Phase III would have $110,000. “I am very proud to say that our team has donated approximately $2,200,” she added. Other than Wolfrom, the AA3 Spring Team includes Claire Ansley, Rita Barton, Ellen
Boykin, Cindy Brady, Carla Brown, Jan Cochran, Barbara Dovin, Eleanor Effinger, Judy Fowler Otley, Mary Ann Hart, Val Herendeen, Stacey Irwin, Cheryle Luchene , Andi McCarthy, Merrie Ann Park, Jeannette Ranero, Beverley Shields, Eleanor Swann and Linda Waitsman. Bailey Brown coached this team, and it advanced to the AA-3 playoffs.

Wolfrom adds, “Please make any gift no matter what the amount to help the grand lady of Atlanta’s Tennis Community to be a great facility again! ”

Tax deductible gifts are payable to: The Georgia Tennis Foundation, Inc. for Bitsy Grant Tennis. Mail to: Friends of Bitsy Grant Tennis, 1266 West Paces Ferry Road, Box 113, Atlanta, Ga. 30327

 

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