West Louisville Tennis Club fights to save court as budget cuts loom

Budget cuts put West Louisville Tennis Club courts in jeopardy

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A winding crack stretches the entire width of a hard surface tennis court at Chickasaw Park.

This crack can alter the outcome of a tennis match. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
This crack can alter the outcome of a tennis match. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

West Louisville Tennis Club members jokingly called it the Grand Canyon on Friday night, but they said the reality of the situation isn’t funny at all.

“The structure of the surface has not held together, as you can see there’s grass on the second court,” Marc Beasley, a club member, said.

Beasley said the crevices caused by that can alter where the ball goes during a match or end up injuring someone, but the deteriorating hard surface court is actually a player’s best option at Chickasaw Park right now.

That’s because another one made of clay that’s typically open, is not.

“There’s no play on these clay courts," Donnie Morris, a club member, said. "At this time of the year, they’re ready to go.”

West Louisville Tennis Club President Aretha Fuqua said she’s concerned the court is becoming a causality of Metro Government’s budget crisis -- which includes a proposed cut of capital projects.

She made a plea to fund the annual opening court maintenance to Metro Council on Thursday.

Fuqua said without the clay courts, the club’s one big USA Tennis sanctioned tournament, the Arthur Lloyd Johnson Memorial Tournament, might not happen.

She said around a dozen people have already registered for the June competition, adding it’s been held every year since 2003.

“It’s consistent, every year," Fuqua said. "We never missed a year. So, this would be a huge disappointment.”

Fuqua said the court is an important part of serving older club members because it can be more forgiving on the body than a hard surface.

The club also serves youth in the community through elementary schools.

Morris said he wants to see the clay courts opened before the tournament. He’s volunteered to do daily maintenance on them for 15 years.

“It saves money for Metro Parks by not having to hire people to come here and do it," Morris said. "So, we do it as volunteers.”

Morris said the work that’s needed to open the courts each spring done by Metro Government costs around $9,000, according to open records requests he submitted.

Some of the clubs more than 50 members said they want to show Metro Council that is a small price to pay to preserve a point of pride in west Louisville.

“All the press that comes out of the west Louisville community, there’s not a lot of good things that are said, but here in Chickasaw Park, we’re doing good things in this community,” Fuqua said.

Club members said they hope to find corporate sponsors to help out, as well.

Copyright 2019 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.