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$400K donation may jump start regional tennis center in Ripon
rip tennis foundation
Members of the Love-Love Ripon tennis Foundation are, from left, Gary Sivley, Board Member; Jennifer Sanguinetti, Vice-President; Alex Lopez, Director of Tennis, City of Ripon; Di Quaresma, President; and Melody de Abreu, Secretary. Not pictured are Steven Garcia, Treasurer and Jonathon Hoff, Board Member.

The Ripon City Council could help get the ball rolling Tuesday on making Mistlin Sports Park into a regional tennis center.

Elected leaders will consider a donation from the community-based group, Love-Love Ripon Tennis Foundation, at the 6 p.m. open session in the Council Chambers, 259 N. Wilma Ave.

If accepted, Council could direct staff to draft an agreement between the City of Ripon and Love-Love Ripon on plans for the tennis complex.

Included would be six tennis courts for Phase 1 of the project, according to the staff report by Recreation Director Kye Stevens, with six more courts for Phase 2.

Phase 3 could consist of a center court and clubhouse.

The Love-Love Ripon Foundation has requested the following from the City of Ripon in consideration of the donation:

· Allocate / match $400,000 in funds for the construction of six new tennis courts.

· Maintain the tennis courts.

· Encourage the development of tennis and USTA tournaments.

· Support the future development of the six additional tennis courts and possibly a center court.

The city has been planning for the development of a tennis complex at the Mistlin Sports Park.

Currently, this project is listed to move forward over the next 20 years, largely because of the need to construct additional parking and internal roads to provide better circulation through the Mistlin Sports Park, prior to the development of the tennis complex, Stevens noted.

The Love-Love Ripon Tennis Foundation intends to share information about the project during a tennis playday scheduled for the existing Ripon Community Center tennis courts on Fourth Street during an event on Saturday, Sept. 10 from 9 to 11 a.m.

Alex Lopez, who serves as director of the popular City of Ripon tennis program, added the complex not only would benefit the growing tennis community in Ripon, but eventually be a regional tennis tournament center for the Northern California United States Tennis Association (USTA).

The closest venues with enough courts to host a regional tournament are Oak Park in Stockton with two less courts than envisioned in Ripon as well as those west of the Altamont Pass.

Not only would that draw people from Tracy, Manteca, Lathrop, Mountain House, Stockton, and Modesto to community clinics and tournaments, but regional level competition drawing on players from throughout the north state is a strong possibility. As such it could mimic the success Manteca has enjoyed with the Big League Dreams sports complex as well as the Woodward Park lighted soccer complex.

Manteca, five years ago, tracked regional soccer and softball tournaments. The events were filling not just Manteca hotels on the weekend but spilling bookings over into hotels in nearby Lathrop and Ripon as well.

Participants and their families also were spending money in Manteca  restaurants as well as buying gas. In the event of multiple-day tournament they often ended up shopping at Bass Pro Shops or hitting entertainment venues such as the Manteca bowling alley.

For more information on the Saturday, Sept. 10, play day or the tennis court project call 209-985-5630.