Youth receiving tennis instruction on newly refurbished courts at MLK Park

Youth receiving tennis instruction on newly refurbished courts at MLK Park
Photos courtesy of Richmond City Manager Bill Lindsay's newsletter.

Over 230 kids recently refined their tennis skills at Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Richmond after the park’s long-dormant tennis courts received extensive repairs, according to the city.

As part of an ongoing effort to bring tennis instruction to courts near city schools, volunteers with the Richmond Tennis Association (RTA) and representatives of the city’s Community Services Department (CSD) banded together a few weeks ago to refurbish the MLK Park tennis courts, which previously lacked nets and had been “littered with trash, needles and debris,” according to Richmond City Manager Bill Lindsay’s weekly newsletter.

CSD staff Tetteh Kisseh and Jose Tirado along with RTA volunteers Garry and David Hurlbut, Mark Duccini, Gary Capra and Laura Imbong, filled up numerous trash bags, while the city’s Park and Landscaping staff patched over 10 breaks in the fence and installed nets, according to the city.

New tennis net posts were purchased by a grant from United States Tennis Association, while temporary gates were installed to prevent tennis balls from rolling onto Cutting Boulevard.

After equipment such as rackets and balls were supplied in a collaboration by RTA, CSD and USTA, the kids were ready to hit the courts.

“The Richmond College Prep School walks their youth over to the courts during their PE periods on Monday and Tuesday,” Lindsay’s newsletter said. 

Last Monday’s first class of 30 youths took to the courts at 8:30 a.m., while additional classes ran till 11:30 a.m. They receive instruction from CSD staff and seven RTA volunteer instructors, including the Hurlbuts, Capra, Imbong, John Lee, Curtis Barnes and Burke Treidler.

The newly refurbished tennis courts are the latest successful project by RTA, which has also helped refurbish tennis courts at Nichol Park and near the Plunge in Point Richmond as part of a successful effort to increase tennis opportunities in the city.

The work at MLK Park runs in conjunction with an effort by a coalition of parents and students who are advocating for an innovative restructuring of the park’s dilapidated playground.

“This is another great example of collaboration between the City of Richmond departments (CSD and Department of Infrastructure and Maintenance Operations (DIMO) Park and Landscaping Division) and the Richmond Tennis Association (RTA) to provide active and healthy lifestyle activity support and training to our Richmond youths,” Lindsay’s newsletter states.