Stonington Community Center to break ground on $300,000 tennis court project

Stonington — The Stonington Community Center announced Tuesday that it will break ground next month on a $300,000 project to replace its four aging tennis courts.

The courts, which were installed in 1957, are now riddled with cracks and weeds.

“It’s time. They are in dire need of replacement,” said Executive Director Beth-Ann Stewart.

The courts will be replaced with a DecoTurf surface, which also is used at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, N.Y., which hosts the U.S. Open each year. The community center also is adding two additional courts to its popular paddle tennis facility.

Stewart said the community center, better known as the COMO, already has raised more than $265,000 for the tennis court project from private contributions. Those include a $50,000 challenge grant from an anonymous donor, which has been met, and a $25,000 grant from the Stonington Village Improvement Association, which has yet to be fully matched.

With just $35,000 left to be raised, Stewart said the COMO is announcing the public phase of its fundraising campaign, which she said is an opportunity for the community at large “to take us on the last leg.”

She said plans call for work to begin at the end of March, with the new courts ready for play on Aug. 1. Fences will be taken down to accommodate equipment, the old court surface will be torn up and removed and an assessment will be done of tree roots under the courts to prevent any damage to the new surface.

While Stewart said the COMO has not promoted activities on the current courts because of their poor condition, she said that once they are replaced, she expects to see the same growth in play as there has been with the paddle tennis courts.

For additional information or to make a donation for the project, go to www.thecomo.org.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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