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Construction of The Ida Stone Jones Community Tennis Center is well underway. In passing by the former site of Central Elementary School one can see dirt being moved and workers installing much of the infrastructure needed to complete the center. Terry Napier, Director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, the department overseeing the construction portion of the public-private partnership, reports that all storm water/drainage piping has been installed, all concrete slabs for lighting are in place, all electrical conduit is in the ground, 60% of the curbing surrounding the courts has been installed and approximately 20% of the retaining wall has been built. “We are moving along well considering the weather we have been experiencing in recent weeks. Every time I go over to the site I am impressed with the amount of work being accomplished in such a timely fashion,” said Napier.
“The need for additional public tennis courts in Bristol is great. Our current courts are in multiple locations throughout the city. By pooling available public and private community resources, our partnership is able to build 8 high quality tennis courts to serve the broad community and attract regional play to Bristol,” said Nell Bieger, co-trustee of the Homer A. and Ida S. Jones Charitable Trust, the lead donor to the project. “The center will serve as home courts for the Tennessee High tennis teams and NJTL of Bristol, which will continue its forty year history of providing free or low cost tennis programming to Bristol’s youth. In addition, there will be tennis programming and competitions for players of all ages and skill levels.”
The Ida Stone Jones Community Tennis Center will be open to the public and maintained as a city park. The Homer A. and Ida S. Jones Charitable Trust has provided $250,000, matched by the City of Bristol Tennessee and the Bristol Tennessee City School System at $125,000 each to build the courts on Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd near Vance Middle School. “Additional donations are now being sought from the community in order to properly outfit the courts and build the Bob Helton Tennis Building in honor of Bristol’s own living tennis legend. To date, $266,600 has been raised towards our $360,000 community fundraising goal for construction costs,” continued Bieger.
Additional funds will be required for court cabanas, sun shades, and spectator seating. While ongoing maintenance and programming costs will fall under the city’s Parks and Rec Department, the group would also like to provide funding for supplemental programming to jump start the center when it opens. The deadline for collection of funds for this project is June 30, 2016. Public contributions can be mailed to the Bristol Tennessee City Schools Foundation/Tennis Center, 615 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Bristol, TN 37620. Contributions may also be made online at youcaring.com/bristoltennis.