In August of 2007, more than 150 residents and notable figures of the Ebensburg, Pa. community gathered together to celebrate Ebensburg Tennis Center opening its doors.
Seven years later, the tennis facility is a staple of the small, 3,000 person community.
“It’s the best thing to ever happen to Ebensburg,” said Vicki Askew, the inspiration for construction of the facility.
Plans for the facility were proposed when the 44-mile round-trip commute to Askew’s tennis club became worrisome for her family.
Construction began with the help of Askew’s son, Vince McMahon, Chairman and CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). McMahon donated $2.5 million through the Vince & Linda McMahon Family Foundation, Inc.
On a weekend in August, almost seven years to the day of the club’s inauguration, Ebensburg celebrated yet again. It was the first time in four years that Askew has been back to visit the facility since she moved to Montgomery, Texas.
Askew loves her new home where she’s close to her family, has escaped Pennsylvania winters, and has developed new friendships. But she misses the place she called home for so long.
“I am happy in Texas and I know it was the right choice,” Askew said. “But there is nothing like the Ebensburg community.”
The Ebensburg community has been redefined in recent years. Since the opening of the Ebensburg Tennis Center, the borough has become all about tennis.
“People come from all over to be members of this club,” said Jamie Taylor, the Director of Tennis at Ebensburg Tennis Center. “We have members who travel from Altoona and State College to be able to play here. Seven years ago, there were not too many people playing tennis in Ebensburg. This facility has transformed the community into a tennis community.”
According to Taylor, it was partly due to the dedication of the community that made the center possible.
“Initially, the borough was unsure about a tennis facility in Ebensburg, given the state of tennis in the community,” Taylor said. “They didn’t see the benefit of it. It wasn’t until members of the community got involved that the borough really saw that people wanted this. That’s when they got on board and now they are thrilled with the progress of Ebensburg Tennis Center.”
Taylor cannot talk about the Ebensburg Tennis Center without getting emotional about Askew.
“She deserves all the recognition,” Taylor said. “Not just because we wouldn’t have this center if it weren’t for her, but because of the type of person she is.”
Askew now lives in a gated community in Texas where she is a member of a private tennis club. At 94 years old, she still plays.
“I’m not as fast as I used to be and I can’t play for as long, but I’m still playing,” Askew said. “I just love it too much to stop now.”
To learn more about Ebensburg Tennis Center and their programs, click here.