Olmsted Parks Conservancy, working alongside West Louisville Tennis Club and USTA’s Kentucky Chapter, raised nearly $8,000 to re-open Chickasaw Park’s historic clay courts.
Chickasaw Park’s historic clay tennis courts – the only free public courts in the city – will reopen in time for the 16th annual Arthur Lloyd Johnson Memorial tournament in June, thanks to donors who contributed to Olmsted Park Conservancy’s fundraising campaign.
The clay tennis courts have been a defining feature of Chickasaw Park for over 70 years and are usually opened to the public in early May. The clay courts require approximately 12 tons of clay each year to open, and due to city budget constraints, were unable to reopen for the 2019 spring season.
West Louisville Tennis Club and USTA’s Kentucky chapter approached Olmsted Parks Conservancy for help reopening the courts in time for the Arthur Lloyd Johnson Memorial tournament (June 21-22), a USTA sanctioned qualifying tournament that attracts tennis players across the city and is a source of pride for the community.
The original goal for the campaign, launched late on April 30, was to raise $5,000 by June 1 in order to purchase and install the clay needed to reopen the clay tennis courts. In just 10 days, more than 80 donors stepped up to the challenge, raising $6,850 to reopen the courts, and donations are still pouring in online. With the gracious $1,000 match from USTA’s Raise a Racquet for Kentucky Tennis Foundation unlocked, a total of $7,850 will go toward purchasing the clay, and excess funds will be used to repair large cracks in the hard courts. The campaign will remain open through the weekend, and come to a close on Monday.
Louisville Parks and Recreation is partnering with Olmsted Parks Conservancy to order the clay for the courts this week and will be providing the equipment and volunteers to install the clay next week (the week of May 13). The courts will open in plenty of time before the tournament on June 21-22, which happens to be the weekend of International Tennis day.
Olmsted Parks Conservancy relied on the power of word-of-mouth and Social Media to drive donations for the campaign. In less than 24 hours after posting news of the campaign on Facebook, the campaign had been shared over 100 times – reaching 13,000 people online. Support from West Louisville Tennis Club, USTA and Raise a Racquet for Kentucky, the Louisville tennis community, West Louisville residents, coverage from local media, and a video from Representatives Charles Booker, Attica Scott, and Reginald Meeks, all contributed to the campaign’s success.