The combined efforts of an enthusiastic tennis community and key support groups rallied to renovate the Valley Center Tennis Club, where a play day and ribbon-cutting ceremony were recently held to celebrate the six court facility in North San Diego. The community event featured a Family Tennis Day followed by the unveiling of the newly resurfaced facility.
“This was a huge community effort and that’s the only way it could have worked,” said Marla Helms, the Vice President of the Valley Center Tennis Club. “We are so lucky to receive this kind of support from so many people.”
The Valley Center Tennis Club was in dire shape and had not been resurfaced for over 15 years. This situation was brought to the attention to influential San Diego area tennis groups that pooled resources to make things happen for this tennis community. The project was funded by a partnership between the Valley Center Parks and Recreation District (VCP&RD), the Greater San Diego City Tennis Council (GSDCTC), The San Diego District Tennis Association (SDDTA), and the Southern California Tennis Association (SCTA.)
The courts were professionally renovated and resurfaced by CH Court Tech in beautiful two- toned blue and green colors. The courts were also lined for USTA 10-and-under-tennis to enhance the enjoyment and development of younger children. This site is home to a plethora of tennis activities including USTA adult leagues, community programs, local classes, summer camps, and high school and junior tennis competition.
“This project was a true team effort,” said David Gill, President of the GSDCTC. “This is a tight knit group of people and they really help each other out. We are pleased to support this community park tennis project .” The Valley Center Tennis Club and the SDDTA co-hosted a Family Tennis Day celebration to bring about 40 adults and children of all ages. Many local volunteers and teaching pros helped out including Valley Center’s Head Pro Seth Leichtfuss, SCTA’s San Diego Area League Coordinator Randie Lettington, USPTA Pro Andrew Cretella and Valley Center High Tennis Coach Tom Helms. The Family Tennis Day was designed to create a six-hour series of free adult beginner lessons at the site, sponsored by the SDDTA.
David Gill said this was one of the first projects the GSDCTC has undertaken since the 2016 passing of Ben Press, the President and Founder of the GSDCTC. The completion of Valley Center Tennis Club courts is, in part, an emotional tribute to Ben’s vision to help keep tennis alive and growing in San Diego by helping communities with court resurfacing.
“I definitely thought about Ben when cutting the ribbon because this is something he really loved to do,” said David Gill. “Ben helped create the GSDCTC almost twenty years ago and his legacy continues to thrive through projects like Valley Center.”
The Valley Center Tennis Club has over 100 members who play at the site on a frequent basis in addition to players from surrounding areas. The club is now fundraising to build a shade structure its bleachers. Helms said temperatures can get over 100 degrees in the summer and shade is a necessity for children who attend their summer camps. The local Eagle Scouts have adopted the Valley Center Tennis Club shade structure as their troop project and will donate their time to build it. However, financial assistance is needed to purchase supplies.
“This little facility draws from all around from Temecula, Murrieta and many parts of North San Diego,” Helms said. “You would be surprised how far people come to play here. We have a very friendly environment.”
Special thanks to Marla Helms and David Gill for contributing to this story with information and photos.USTA League, the country’s largest adult recreational tennis league, gets hundreds of thousands of participants nationwide competing, exercising and enjoying the camaraderie of teammates. Tennis is the sport of a lifetime! Play is based on the National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP) rating system so you will play with and against players of similar ability. Whether you are new to the game or a former player, there’s a spot for you. USTA League also offers you and your teammates a chance to advance from local play to USTA League National Championship events.