DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR
GRANITE SHOALS — With about a half-dozen years behind it, the Roddick Tennis Center is really beginning to take shape.
“We’re finishing up the two regulation, full-size courts,” said Frank Reilly, an advocate for the program and Granite Shoals community. “We’re excited because the next project is to build two to four more full-size courts, which will really be a boost.”
The goal is to add one or two more full-size courts each year.
“One each year is a minimum,” said Dave Holder of the Roddick Youth Tennis Foundation. “With those additional courts, it does two things: increases the number of area youth we can serve and adds to the number of tournaments we can hold. And those tournaments, they draw in 100 or more people each time.”
Holder hopes that, with the facility’s growth, the center can host one to two tournaments a month, which could hit the local economy with a influx of up to $1 million annually. United States Tennis Association-sanctioned tournaments draw competitors from across the state and the nation, even from other countries.
“That’s not just money that goes into the (Granite Shoals) area either,” Holder added. “The businesses and hotels in Marble Falls and other areas will see some of it.”
But before anybody starts planning on Granite Shoals and the Highland Lakes becoming a favorite destination for tennis players, organizers need to build more courts. One way of funding the facility is through the annual Vegas by the River.
The foundation is holding the event — “A Rockin’ Hill Country Christmas Party” — 6:30-10 p.m. Dec. 13 at the Marble Falls Lakeside Pavilion, 307 Buena Vista Drive.
Tickets are $75 per person or $100 for two.
“It’s going to be a great time,” Reilly said. “We have a lot of great things lined up. And one of the biggest things is the silent auction. We easily have more than 100 items up for bid.”
And it’s an impressive list of items, including an autographed poster of Nolan Ryan and signed photos of Pete Rose, Darrell Royal and Johnny Manziel. There’s even a Roger Staubach-autographed photo of the former Dallas Cowboy standing on the sideline with former Cowboys coach Tom Landry.
Somebody can even go home with an autographed photo of Ben Crenshaw and his book “Feel for the Game.”
Other items include trips to the 49th annual Country Music Awards and after-party; 67th Primetime Emmy Awards; 2015 French Open Tennis Finals in Paris; 2015 U.S. Open Tennis Tournament; and a week’s stay at the Roddick family cabin in Ruidoso, New Mexico, as well as many other items.
“Just do your Christmas shopping here,” Holder added.
And while the idea of creating a tennis destination in Granite Shoals sounds exciting and economically beneficial, Reilly pointed out that the real reason behind the center is to give area youth a place to learn a sport, build a positive future and create opportunities for success.
“It offers a great recreational opportunity for the kids in the area,” Reilly said. “But with the programs that Dave runs through it, including an after-school program and those through the school district, we really have something here that can change lives.”
Plus, when the center isn’t reserved for tournaments or programs, it will be open for public use.
The foundation started the facility, located adjacent to the Granite Shoals city hall on Phillips Ranch Road, with two covered QuickStart courts, which are designed for youth. The recent project includes completing two covered, full-size courts with the remaining built outside.
“There’s a lot of potential with this facility,” Holder added. “But we need funding.”
And the Vegas by the River fundraiser offers a great opportunity for the community to support the Roddick Youth Tennis Foundation project all while having a great time.
“Vegas by the River also makes for a great office Christmas party as well,” Reilly added.
Contact Holder at (830) 832-2799 or dave@RoddickYouthTennis.org for tickets or more information.