Scott County Parks and Recreation Director Skip Sheets said the department used a matching grant from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation to make the first upgrades to the tennis courts since they were built nearly five decades ago.
The $50,000 Land and Water Conservation Fund grant also covered the cost of several spur trail expansions along the park’s main walking trail, increasing its total distance to two miles.
The county’s matching half of the grant was covered by in-kind work from volunteers and donated use of equipment.
“Of the $50,000 match, the county actually had zero it had to provide,” Sheets said. “That’s because we got over $52,000 worth of in-kind work through volunteers. It was a community collaboration, that’s for sure.”
Sheets said the repairs to the tennis courts were especially long overdue.
“The courts had never been redone,” Sheets said. “It’s been 50 years or more since anything has been done.”
The courts, which are used on occasion for practice by the recent state-runners up Gate City High School boys and girls tennis teams, had become an eyesore for the park after receiving only minimal repairs over the past 50 years, Sheets said, and faced closure if something wasn’t done.
Sheets, a volunteer assistant coach for both Gate City High School teams, said the new courts are finished in “Blue Devil” blue, like those used at the U.S. Open tennis tournament.
Along with the improved playing surface, Sheets said new nets and fence were installed and trees surrounding the courts were removed. Parking for the tennis facilities was also improved.
In addition to that work, the grant also paid for new spur trails to be added to the park’s main trail system.
“This is huge for us. The nature trail has been expanded by a half-mile, and we added additional picnic tables to give more area for people to have picnics or gatherings.”
Sheets said the spur trails were needed to provide more variety for park goers who use the nature trail, which connects the park’s tennis courts, golf course and picnic shelters.
The new routes also provide walkers with different types of terrain, Sheets said, ranging from flat and relatively easy to steep and more challenging.