Partnership formed to help resurface the tennis courts at Seaford High School

By Scott Bleile

Over the last several years, the tennis courts located at Seaford High School have started to show their age. They have become almost unusable with cracks on the courts, nets being held down with concrete blocks and weeds growing in the cracks.

"It is a shame to see this happen to the courts" Dr. Kevin Carson, Supervisors of Building and Grounds at Seaford School District, stated. "We have been in contact with the City of Seaford and have discussed the project and found that the Rotary Club of Seaford wants to be involved with getting the resurfacing done to the courts."

The courts were built back in the 1970's with help from the city and school district. "The courts were built between the City and the school with several courts belonging to the city and several belonging to the school," stated Seaford's Mayor David Genshaw. "We have lost track of who owns what part and that is why we have formed the partnership to get this project done. We are a big believer in partnerships, especially ones for great causes and we are glad to be involved with the different groups."

"This problem was brought to my attention by my daughter, Stefanie," according to Jack Riddle, who is the Assistant District Governor with Rotary International and member of the Seaford Rotary Club. "Stefanie is the Indian River tennis coach and when she found out that Seaford High School would not have any home tennis matches due to the condition of the courts, she was very upset. She said 'Dad we need to do something about this problem'. So I started making some phone calls."

Riddle contacted former Seaford Tennis Coach Phil Burtelle to discuss the condition of the courts. "I found that they were in pretty bad shape and went out to look for myself. There were large cracks all over the courts, the nets were torn and many of the lights did not work," stated Riddle. "The last time the courts were resurfaced was back in the late 70's or early 80's when the school had them done. I then contacted Dr. Carson and Mayor Genshaw to discuss what we needed to do to get the tennis courts back up to standards. I told them there is backing from a group of tennis players, former high school players and coaches from the Seaford Community which are interested in working with the City of Seaford, the Seaford School District and the United States Tennis Association on a plan to enhance the tennis facilities in Seaford."

The group, headed by Riddle put out a statement: "At one time Seaford had the best tennis facilities downstate and we would like to return them to that status. Our Goal: To repair the courts and make improvements to enhance the playing infrastructure in our town and have all work completed by spring 2017."

Potential improvement opportunities include: court surfacing repairs, re-lamping some of the courts, hitting walls refurbishment, shed upgrade

The group's strategy includes: develop and quantify needs, develop funding plan, raise community awareness and financial involvement, develop and implement repairs.

Seaford Rotary Club President Rob Hemman spearheaded the club's involvement in this project and secure funds to help jump start the project according to Riddle.

"It seemed like we all kind of dropped the ball on taking care of the courts," stated Genshaw. "The City wants to make sure we do what is best for our money and to see the courts are brought back to the facilities they once were so that the community can enjoy the courts. With the city, school and Rotary Club involved this will get done."

The final part to the puzzle is community involvement according to Riddle.

"We need to get the community involved with donations to help put us over the top to make these the best facilities like they once were," said Riddle. "We have set up a Facebook page where people can go to get information about the project and also make donations. They can go to www.facebook.com/FriendsofSeafordTennis2016 for more information. The page explains the plans and budget needs for the project. Anyone can also contact me at 302-629-5138.

"We want to have great tennis courts again where everyone can play and maybe bring leagues and tournaments back to the City. We have had many USTA events at the tennis courts in the past and hopefully we can bring these back. We need community support, so please donate to a good cause."

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