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City officials and representatives from Bristol Tennessee City Schools gathered alongside community supporters to dedicate the new Ida Stone Jones Community Tennis Center with a First Serve Celebration. The occasion marks the culmination of a years-long effort to establish a centrally located, high quality public tennis facility to serve the community. The project came to fruition thanks to a strong public-private partnership, spearheaded by representatives of the Homer A. and Ida S. Jones Charitable Trust and the National Junior Tennis League of Bristol.
“Projects like this exemplify what can happen when dedicated community members unite their efforts and resources with the city around a common vision. Some really great works can be accomplished,” said Bristol, Tennessee City Councilman Jack Young. Financial support for the project came in the form of a $250,000 contribution from the Jones’ namesake trust, which was matched in equal parts of $125,000 by the City of Bristol, Tennessee and Bristol Tennessee City Schools. Additional support was provided by the Graeson B. Viers Memorial Foundation, for whom the facility’s Championship Court is named, and a number of other sponsors including private citizens, businesses, and other charitable organizations. Such donations also made possible the construction of the Bob Helton Tennis Building, honoring the local tennis legend whom many consider to be the godfather of Bristol tennis.
Terry Napier, Parks and Recreation Director for the City of Bristol, Tennessee, noted that “The tennis center owes so much of its success to the outpouring of support that was received from the community. That generosity in the form of donations both large and small has gone a long way in augmenting the services we are able to offer as a city. We are incredibly proud to see this center become a reality for Bristol.”
The new community tennis center is open to the public and will be maintained as a city park. It also serves as the new home courts for the State Champion Tennessee High Viking tennis teams. Additionally, NJTL of Bristol will continue its forty-year tradition of providing free or low cost