When Pittsburgh-area tennis coach Jim Kochanski drove past the tennis courts at Canon-McMillan High School on a recent Sunday morning, he saw something he didn’t expect.
There were young kids playing with their parents, and young adults hitting back and forth. All four courts were busy.
So he drove by again at 5 p.m. that night, and saw more of the same.
“A year ago, that never would have happened,” said Kochanski, the high school tennis coach at Canon-McMillan who also runs community tennis programs. “Today, the courts are beautiful. They’re starting to be used again on a regular basis.”
A lot of that, in Kochanski’s eyes, is due to a recent grant by the USTA. Through the USTA Facility Assistance Program, Canon-McMillan High School was awarded a $10,000 grant for the reconstruction of the school’s four tennis courts. The USTA Facility Assistance Program aims to support and provide communities access to safe, appealing and functional tennis environments.
“In the last few years the courts had gotten pretty bad, and participation dropped,” Kochanski said. “We started hearing complaints about the gaps in the court and the cracks. So I applied for the grant.”
The courts were rejuvenated and Kochanski, who has coached the boys and girls tennis teams at Canon-McMillan for more than six years, is now utilizing the courts in a big way. On top of coaching the high school teams, he runs programming for kids in kindergarten, elementary school and middle school. The courts’ Blended Lines make play for young kids easier and more fun.
The community is also using the courts at nights and on the weekends.
“It’s like that old saying, ‘If you build it, they will come,’” Kochanski said. “I’m starting to really see it make a comeback.”
USTA Middle States and the USTA have numerous grant options available to organizations and facilities. In 2014, the USTA allocated more than $900,000 through the Facility Assistance Program to help support public tennis facility enhancements, renovations and new construction projects. In total, the USTA Facility Assistance Program has built more than 38,000 tennis courts across the country in the last seven years.
The next deadline for a USTA grant is April 30. Learn more by clicking here.
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