Persistence, public support and pint-sized players are the rallying cry for Rogue River tennis enthusiasts.
The city secured a grant to reconstruct the two courts at Anna Classick Park on Pine Street, said Howard Wand, president of the Rogue River Community Tennis Association.
"This is wonderful news and a great opportunity for Rogue River, our schools and the community," said Wand.
The $85,000 grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department will be available in a few weeks. Rogue River will contribute another 20 percent toward the $114,000 project, said John Krawczyk, the city's public works director and engineer. The additional 20 percent will come from donations and another grant through the United States Tennis Association, he said.
"Our courts have got some really big cracks in the pavement," Krawczyk said, adding the project includes resurfacing as well as reconstructing the sideline areas and changing out the fencing.
"The courts will be completely redone," he said.
The disrepair and their slightly smaller size make the two courts not only difficult to play on, but also ineligible for tournament use, said Wand, a former USTA captain.
The closest playable courts are in Gold Hill, Krawczyk said.
Wand said he hopes that with community support, construction will start early next spring that will bring the courts up to national specifications.
Wand is seeking a cadre of about six to nine volunteers to help him bring tennis programs for all ages into the city.
"Tennis is a sport for a lifetime," Wand said. "It's a sport you can start even if you're over age 35 and continue to improve."
The volunteers' job includes helping Wand get the next generation of tennis players into the sport via a youth tennis program called 10 and Under Tennis, he said.
The program helps little kids enjoy the game because it utilizes a combination of slower-moving and lower-bouncing balls, smaller courts, and shorter and lighter racquets, Wand said.
"The light, short racket and the Nerf balls make it a whole new game for the little ones," he said.
A nationally certified professional tennis player has offered his services to provide after-school tennis, as well as clinics and instruction to kids and adults, Wand said.
Wand said if enough interest in 10 and Under Tennis is generated, he'll consider organizing a couple of play dates at a local school ground or other suitable location.
"The larger soft balls will be used and youth racquets will be provided," he said. "At least six kids should be registered for each class to be scheduled."
Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or email email@example.com.
Correction: This story has been updated to correct Howard Wand's last name throughout.