Thursday, April 7, 2016
By Amanda Tonoli
Trustees, school board members, tennis players and others celebrated the grand opening of a $160,000 project that built two tennis courts at the township’s park on Kirk Road.
Vince Colaluca, Austintown superintendent, said he was thankful for the trustees, park officials and the partnership the school district has with them.
Trustee Rick Stauffer said the courts were beneficial not only for the tennis team but also for the community.
“It’s really great to do things together, and there are so many great opportunities to have partnerships together,” Stauffer said.
He said he hopes the Austintown community can serve as an example for surrounding communities to mirror the collaboration in big projects like this one.
“It brings more people to the township,” Colaluca said. “Someone’s going to stop and get gas, and someone’s going to stop and buy food after [a tennis match]. The dollars are coming into the community.”
The dollars spent on the courts didn’t come out of a park fund, despite being on park land, but came from the school district’s budget.
Park Supervisor Todd Shaffer said he was happy to provide the land for a project that would benefit residents and students.
Kristen Godwin of Austintown said she’s glad her son, Fitch freshman Jared Godwin, has the opportunity to play tennis for Fitch.
“We are so thankful for Todd Shaffer keeping up on the maintenance for these courts and for allowing the Fitch Falcon [tennis] team to continue their season,” Godwin said. “Without the park, they wouldn’t have been able to.”
Colaluca said the on-campus courts Fitch had were an issue in the past, forcing students to have their matches played elsewhere. Students formerly played at Mill Creek Park’s Volney Rogers tennis courts for matches and tournaments due to the district’s problematic courts and lack of space. The addition of the new courts will enable students to play closer to home.
According to a district news release, there now will be six courts that will allow Austintown to host tournaments and provide room for both the home and visiting teams to practice.
“I’m just thrilled that not only the school will get use out of these courts, but the public will, as well. Any given day the courts are full with people waiting, so, this will help tremendously,” Shaffer said.