Game – Set – Match!

Published 5:21 pm Friday, June 21, 2024

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GATESVILLE – The familiar sound of tennis balls bouncing on asphalt is once again echoing through Gates County, thanks to the dedication of Gates County Schools personnel, support from the county, and a generous grant.

Dr. Barry Williams, Superintendent of Gates County Schools, secured funding from Obici Healthcare Foundation to revitalize the dilapidated tennis courts located at the Gates County Community Center with additional funding provided by Gates County local government.

The courts, once a place of activity for local youth and families, had fallen into disrepair, becoming unusable and an eyesore. Dr. Williams recognized the importance of these courts not only for physical activity but also for fostering community spirit and providing a safe space for recreation.

“These courts were a vital part of this community for years,” said Dr. Williams. “They brought people together, provided a place for kids to play, and offered a healthy outlet for everyone.

Prior to the project, this is what the tennis courts looked like at the Gates County Community Center. Contributed Photo

“It was sad to see them fall into such disrepair,” he added. “This grant is a game-changer, giving us the opportunity to restore these courts and bring back the joy of tennis to our community.”

Johnny Greene, Director of Maintenance for Gates County Schools, said that due to the success of Dr. Williams in his effort to secure the grant funding that led to the complete overhaul of the courts. Greene noted the project included replacing the cracked and uneven asphalt with a smooth, new surface, ensuring a safe and enjoyable playing experience.

New nets and posts were also installed, providing a professional and functional playing area.

Greene added that the project included the addition of pickleball courts will provide more access to fun recreational competition.

Obici Foundation CEO and President R. Battle Betts, Jr. shared, “The Obici Healthcare Foundation is pleased to have partnered with Gates County and the Gates County Public Schools to breathe new life into the tennis courts at the Gates Community Center,” stated Obici Foundation CEO and President R. Battle Betts, Jr. “This revitalization project promotes physical activity and provides a safe space for students and the community to enjoy the games of tennis and pickleball.”

“It’s wonderful to see the tennis courts back in action and I’m proud to help provide a place where not only our community but our athletes can practice and compete at home,” said Dr. Williams.

Dr. Althea Riddick, Chair of the County Commissioners, said, “the revitalized tennis courts are a testament to the power of community involvement and the impact of a single individual dedication.  These efforts have not only restored a valuable recreational resource but also brought a sense of pride and renewed energy to the county.”

“I was overjoyed when Dr. Williams shared we were receiving this grant funding,” said Sallie Ryan, Chair of the Gates County Board of Education. “It never ceases to amaze me how Dr. Williams has been able to ensure capital outlay grants for our school system. The tennis courts are now a symbol of community spirit and a reminder that with passion and perseverance, even the most challenging obstacles can be overcome. Accolades to Dr. Williams.”