July 16, 2009

News Release

For Immediate Release

Springfield Named Best Tennis Town Finalist!

The United States Tennis Association has notified Springfield that it stands to win up to $100,000 to support community tennis programs if Springfield beats out nine other finalist cities during a 10-day Web-based vote for America’s “Best Tennis Town”.

The USTA has selected Springfield as one of its Top 10 tennis towns in the United States. Online voters will determine who wins the top three cash prizes, which will be announced at the U.S. Open beginning Aug. 26 at Flushing Meadows, New York.

Voting begins today, Thursday, July 16, 2009 and ends at midnight on Sunday, July 26. All citizens are encouraged to vote for Springfield at www.besttennistown.com.

The winning city in the nationwide poll will receive $100,000; the second-place city will receive $50,000; and the third-place city will receive $25,000. The prize money is designated to support tennis programming or facility enhancements.

“We want to share with everyone in America what we’ve been working on for more than 30 years - that Springfield-Greene County has some of the best municipal facilities in the country at Cooper Tennis Complex and its other courts throughout town,” Mayor Jim O’Neal said. “I hope everyone will take a minute to vote for Springfield and encourage other supporters to vote for us. Our community offers every level of development and play from casual recreation players to Olympic development training to the professional World Team Tennis franchise.”

The other finalist cities are: Independence, Kan.; Hickory, N.C.; Ojai, Calif.; Las Vegas; Grand Junction, Colo.; Baton Rouge, La.; Tempe, Ariz.; Cary, N.C.; and Midland, Mich.

The Park Board’s application included a video showcasing the success of the local programs and facilities offered at Cooper and the newly renovated Gillenwater Tennis Complex, as well as other community facilities. Links to the voting and to the application video are available at: www.springfieldmo.gov and www.parkboard.org.

Park Board Chairman Bob Horton said this recognition validates the community’s interest in and support for tennis at both the participatory and spectator levels.

“I also think a lot of the credit is due to the tremendous level of support we’ve received over many years from the Harry Cooper family,” Horton said. “We would not be in this position today as one of the top 10 cities without the support the Cooper family has given this sport for so many years.”

For more information, contact: Jodie Adams, Director of Parks, (417) 864-1329.