Thanks to “some unbelievable contributions,” a fund for building six tennis courts on the John Jay High School campus is more than 60 percent of the way toward covering the costs.
Rob Labriola, the boys team tennis coach at the school, put current pledges and contributions at $230,000, well past the halfway point for a project with an estimated price tag of some $375,000. The proposed tennis complex would include lighting and spectator seating and be available to other tennis teams, physical education classes and the community.
For its part, the community is doing its part. Labriola, who has been heading fund-raising efforts, said, “We’ve gotten some unbelievable contributions from the community.” Indeed, at a meeting of the Katonah-Lewisboro School District board last week, Marianne Flayhan, president of the John Jay Boosters Club, announced that the club will donate $50,000 to the construction fund.
Noting that the boosters are not, as some have suggsted, “just a football and lacrosse club,” Flayhan called the courts “desperately needed in our community.”
“We thought it was a home run,” she said, “so we all came together and the boosters have pledged $50,000 toward the project. . . . We’re thinking this is a project we can be very, very proud of.”
The boosters’ website carries a rendering of the tennis courts, located on the current site of the campus softball field, near Route 121 at the entrance to John Jay Middle School. If that site was chosen, Labriola said, the softball field would move to a better, more-level location behind the school. No final decision has been made, however, on a site for the tennis center; the search for the best possible location goes on, official said. “We are fortunate that the United States Tennis Association supports this effort,” the club’s website notes.
Virgil Christian, director of community development and facilities for the tennis organization, said, “We could not help but to be caught up with the excitement of what this tennis center would mean to the community.”
While “building courts is a great ambition,” Christian said, “building a tennis ‘community’ is really what is happening here.”
He declared the USTA “100 percent behind your passion and efforts." Bill Mountford, the association's manager of market development and collegiate tennis, represented Christian at the Jan. 10 school board meeting.
Chris McCarthy, John Jay’s director of health, athletics, physical education and wellness, described himself as “very excited” by the proposed complex. “A project like this brings everyone together,” he said.