May 11, 2012
Howard County Executive
3430 Courthouse Drive Ellicott City, MD 21043
On behalf of the USTA Maryland Board of Directors and its 15,000 members, I’m writing to reiterate USTA’s support for developing a public outdoor and indoor tennis facility at Troy Hill Regional Park.
This ideally located park has long been a site that we believe will attract a significant number of USTA sanctioned national, regional and state tournaments. If Troy Park is being considered a multiple sports destination then it will be an excellent place to build numerous public courts to showcase USTA’s largest youth initiative – 10 and Under Tennis. We like the Troy Park regional park design because it creates the potential for cross-promoting tennis to others coming off nearby lacrosse or soccer fields, or that are using a community center. Development along the Rte. 1 corridor would get a boost, as well. And frankly, Troy Park remains an excellent location for our USTA offices and gives our staff the opportunity to partner with park and recreation staff to offer tennis programs for all County residents.
Central to our core values is the belief that all community members should have access to public facilities and that the opportunity for youth recreation and development is available for all. It is estimated that 70% of tennis is played on public courts and played by people from ages 4 to over 100 – tennis crosses several socio-economic and ethnic boundaries and every year our hope is to further break down barriers to access.
To date, USTA Maryland has invested ten years, countless staff hours, and $50,000 on the Troy Park concept working with County staff, tennis supporters and private investors. While we know that the Maryland Stadium Authority study concluded that the entire project including a stadium for a professional tournament isn’t currently feasible we’re extremely pleased that the study supports a scaled-back tennis center at Troy Park. We’re committed to partnering with the County to develop that plan.
It has come to our attention, however, that along with Troy Park the County is considering another site that would be privately developed and include a mix of outdoor and indoor courts. While our understanding is limited, it’s our opinion that such a private development would not be in line with our mission. Furthermore, it would not address our original goal of further expanding the public’s access to tennis and more importantly to activities which will provide years of enjoyment and healthy active living. Troy Park could be such a venue for this expansion, where collectively many recreational opportunities would be present.
Having a tennis complex outside the public inventory will limit community access and further diminish social equity and access to quality of life activities for your entire constituency. Our goal is to break down these barriers to healthy living and not to build them up.
USTA Maryland prefers a County plan to build multiple public outdoor and indoor tennis courts at Troy Park and we remain committed to working with the County on that goal.
Please do not hesitate to let our staff or me know how we can continue to assist you with developing tennis at Troy Park.
USTA Maryland District, Inc.
cc: Calvin Ball, Howard County Council, District 2
Ian Kennedy, Deputy Chief of Staff