Sunday, March 9, 2014
AUGUSTA — Indoor tennis is returning to Augusta this weekend after a six-year absence and months of planning and fundraising by the Kennebec Valley Tennis Association.
The four-court facility at 23 Leighton Road closed six years ago and will reopen at the same location under the banner of A-Copi Tennis and Sports Center. Friday’s impending snowstorm could complicate matters, but new director of tennis/general manager Hans Romer said he will open the doors at 9 a.m. with plans to stay open until 9 p.m.
“With inclement weather, we may reduce those hours,” Romer said.
Romer will conduct a free clinic for adults from 10-11 a.m. Saturday. Born and raised in the Netherlands, he has managed clubs and taught tennis throughout the United States. He is the only United States Professional Tennis Association master professional instructor in Maine and one of about 135 around the country.
“The first objective is to get all these people back from Waterville and Brunswick,” said Romer, in reference to indoor courts in those cities.
The new club includes men’s and women’s locker rooms and a large lobby. Romer said he’ll open a small pro shop and that snacks and beverages will also be available. The courts, which have been washed and are in good shape, will be resurfaced this summer.
About 120 people showed up for an open house last Saturday, according to KVTA president Dan Bence, and about 20 have bought memberships in the past week. Bence said his association nearly reached its fundraising goal of $300,000. In addition to some corporate donations, the Gall family, which owns the building, assumed some of the renovation costs.
“Eddie and Jason Gall helped us out immensely,” Bence said.
Romer plans to conduct junior clinics this spring and host a couple of social tournaments for adults. Leagues will be set up next fall, he said.
Bence, who coaches the Hall-Dale High School boys tennis team, said indoor tennis will have a direct effect on the seven tennis-playing high schools in the area.
“This should be a boon for all the high school players and also the kids coming up,” he said.Gary Hawkins — 621-5638 email@example.com Twitter: @GaryHawkinsKJ