Dear Tennis Family,
Thank you for being a member of the BTA and the tennis community in Boulder.
We are grateful and honored to be a part of this wonderful community tennis association and advocates for the sport we love. We wish you and yours a wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!
Tennis is more than a game.
Like all sports it has the potential to connect a person to that universal part of us all that celebrates the joy of life. It teaches the value of teamwork, discipline, dreaming, and so much more. It keeps us young with enthusiasm, energy and well being that is essential to a life well lived. When we think about the problems of the world , and in our community like homelessness, mental health challenges, racism and war, it’s easy to judge sports as not that important. In some ways that is true but let’s remember how being a healthy, happy person in our society with strong social relationships is the foundation of a positive community.
BTA Highlights and updates for 2022
USTA League – is a large part of the value BTA brings to players that want to play on a recreational team. It was a very successful year with some of our teams going undefeated in the regular season and being competitive at Districts at many levels. We also had more players than ever with 39 teams, 402 individual registrations, 133 home matches leading to 484 courts rented.
Huge thanks go out to Kathy Webber our retiring USTA League coordinator for a great job well done the last 7 + years. We look forward to seeing you on the courts.
Welcome our new USTA league coordinator Jody Reenan who joins us with experience running the LTA leagues and so much more. She is also a part of the BTA board and will be bringing her powers of organization to improve your experience with the USTA league teams.
Saturday Drop-ins and Winter Socials – Another BTA staple for over 50 years created to provide a consistent social event for players to meet and play in a volunteer-led event where the BTA rents courts and supplies the balls for everyone to play and have a great time. This year we were also able to integrate the website registration process so players could RSVP a place beforehand. We implemented a small fee that helped offset the court rental fees and ball costs. The Socials were mainly sold out , and the Drop-in were well attended with between 6-8 courts utilized. Thanks go to Alex Goldstein, and David Bright for helping coordinate the Sat dropins and Patrick Edwards and Eduardo Martinez for doing the same for Winter Socials – and thanks to Parker Dodd for all his many behind the scenes contributions that support the various critical functions within BTA.
The Austin Scott tournament was a huge success with over 300 players and great vendor support. Special thanks to Timmy Bromell- the Tournament Director , Chris DeCicco – Tournament Mgr., Shannon Derby, Parker Dodd, Rachel Bloombaum, Idi Omar and all the players, officials and volunteers that made the 55th AS one of the best ever.
Bounty County Cup – Victory for the BTA team over our friends at the LTA and CVTA teams for the first time in 11 years! What a great event it is, played in the World Team Tennis format and sponsored by the 3 Associations. It includes Men’s , Women’s and Mixed doubles. See attached picture for the winning BTA team lead by Tom Galey.
BTA Boulder County Cup 2022 Winning Team
Pickleball – Pickleball’s popularity has exploded in the last 3 years and has definitely impacted tennis, especially with the challenge of sharing the courts. We developed an alliance with the BOCO Pickleball Club to ensure both groups can work together to thrive. Highlights include joint volunteer court clean-up days, and an agreement to partner in getting a new center built with dedicated Tennis and Pickleball courts in Boulder. BOCO’s goals are aligned with our own in driving new dedicated courts for both sports going forward. We also are working on nominating a new member to the Parks and Rec. Advisory Committee that understands and is sympathetic to the tennis and pickleball community. See below for more details.
Parks and Rec – A closer partnership is developing to ensure the tennis community has direct input on priorities for Parks and Rec court maintenance, as well as an agreement on a moratorium on the multi-use pickleball painted lines on tennis courts. Our goal of a new tennis facility that is a public private partnership with P&R, CU and others is in the works stay tuned.
BTA Board – 2022 was the first year for our new President Chris DeCicco, who has been able to help us dream bigger and make some noise to raise the profile of the BTA in our community. Parker Dodd became the Vice President, Rachel Bloombaum, our Treasurer, and Michael Xu, Secretary. Our volunteer-led association has grown with the recruitment of some new enthusiastic board members. Welcome Patrick Edwards, Shannon Derby, Michael Xu, Jody Reenan, and Sue Burke to the board. We also continue to benefit from the knowledge of Sylvia Henderson and Eduardo Martinez, and the humor of Timmy Bromell. As we continue to pursue some large goals we recognize it will require more resources, especially well-qualified board members, fundraisers, and movers/shakers who want to move forward our efforts for the tennis community.
State of tennis survey- The Boulder Tennis Association recently conducted a public survey of tennis players in the Boulder area. The purpose of the survey was to assess the accessibility of tennis in the area and understand the need for improved facilities in the city of Boulder. The survey’s 422 respondents ranked their ability to play tennis (based on availability and cost) at an average of 2.56 out of 5. Respondents frequently highlighted the following recurring issues:
Public tennis court usage is full
In terms of public options, many survey respondents are frustrated with the configuration and availability of public tennis courts in Boulder. The city has 28 available courts. However, of the 13 available Rec center courts, 9 are now dominated by pickleball due to a favorable Parks and Rec reservation policy that subsidizes pickleball playing over tennis playing. Apart from the Rec centers, 9 neighborhood courts are in unplayably poor condition (Tom Watson, Palo Park, Arapahoe Ridge, and Chautauqua); And 4 courts at East Boulder Rec are booked three mornings a week throughout the summer for classes run by Gonzo Tennis, making general public play difficult.
Note: There are an additional 20 courts available through Boulder Valley School District (Centennial MS, Manhattan MS, and Fairview HS). But of these, Manhattan’s courts are almost unplayable, and Centennial and Fairview’s court access can be limited during school hours and by school team practices. Not to mention the fact that the primary purpose of school courts is to provide facilities for their students. BVSD has made every effort to keep these facilities available to the general public, but that will always be a secondary priority.
Setting aside the problematic school courts, that leaves only 6 public Parks and Rec courts that are in playable condition and accessible to the general public without any constraints (Creekside, Knollwood, and Columbine). Of these 6 courts, the configuration is 2 courts each across 3 pocket parks. These courts are consistently full, require reservations, cannot support league play and are not lighted – leading to limited availability for any season other than summer.
Oversubscribed private tennis options
Of the two private clubs near Boulder, the Meadows requires a 7 year wait for a family membership and has 200+ families on the waitlist and the Boulder Country Club, which is 15 minutes outside of Boulder, requires a 3 year wait, It is clear from the survey that the demand exists within Boulder for more tennis options.
RMTC and CU South- The impending closure of these 2 facilities and the 37 courts that support CU Women’s tennis, 100’s of kids, wheelchair players and 100’s of tennis players in general is going to make playing in Boulder untenable.
The Boulder Racket Center
It is clear from the hundreds of responses that Boulder needs a new tennis center that can fulfill the needs of both CU and the general public. A tennis center would finally allow Boulder to host tennis events, support the 50+ Boulder-based league teams, CU, adult, senior and junior drills, and the general public.
The survey responses also demonstrate that such a tennis center would not only fulfill the need for year-round tennis via indoor courts, but also finally support the possibility of year-round night tennis in Boulder, of which there are currently only a few poorly lit and unusable courts.
Our game plan
Partnership with CU- as the court shortage has grown we were able to create an agreement to host USTA League matches at CU South this past year with cooperation from RMTC and CU facilities to utilize these great courts. This will continue for the next couple of years. The annexation of CU South and the impending development will mean that these courts which are in the floodplain will go away. Both CU and BTA recognize the impact of this to the community. CU has been working to find a solution to losing these courts and the redevelopment and loss of the RMTC club in the next couple of years. This means the CU women’s team will have nowhere to play. This has resulted in CU hiring a consultant to do their own study on the supply and demand of tennis in Boulder. They have been interviewing the BTA, RMTC, Gonzo Tennis, and other stakeholders to collect the information they need to justify helping fund a new community tennis center. We are partnering to ultimately help fund and build a center that will make Boulder proud.
Partnership with Parks and Recreation- as the largest steward of courts in Boulder and the land that goes with it we are committed to working with PR to better support tennis overall. This includes more transparency and input from the BTA on what courts need maintenance and upgrades the most. It also includes forming a dedicated task force between all the parties so that we can find the right piece of land in Boulder to build a new center. This will require a strategic plan to develop, fundraise, plan, and run a new center.
How you can help!
1) Be a tennis advocate – in speaking with other Boulder community groups such as mountain biking, swimming and pickleball and other communities that have successfully completed new tennis projects, it is clear that both City Council and Parks and Rec need to hear from us in order for things to happen. If you know of a city council member, please reach out to them directly and talk to them about your experience as a tennis player in Boulder. Feel free to contact us as well if you have a great relationship with a city council member. Community members being vocal has been the start of many of the successful public tennis projects in Colorado – and we are well on our way!
2) Become a member of the Boulder Parks and Rec Advisory Board in 2023. There are 2 open positions with applications open from Dec 19th- Jan 30th. BOCO Pickleball and BTA tennis are working on a short list of potential candidates we can support that are sympathetic to our sports challenges. They also must be experienced and interested in all the sports and needs of the community. Please contact email@example.com to express your interest, experience and questions.
2) Potential private donors – although we are pushing as hard as we can for the public funding option, and CU’s help, the majority of the tennis community agrees that some form of private donors or investment will be required to get this done. To that end – if you have potential interest in participating as a founding donor or investor of any of the tennis projects contact the BTA with your interest to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many blessings from the BTA Board!