Aug 11 2017 42285 1

Dated: 08/11/2017

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Miramar Residents:

We can all agree that we are living through exciting times in our small city of Miramar. The city has progressed at an incredible pace in the last ten years. As a resident for the last 17 years, I have to say that this is the best place to raise a family! There are so many kid friendly activities and parks. Check out the article below that came out in Sun-Sentinel not too long ago! I can't wait to see this happen!

Venus, Serena Williams pledge $1 million to planned Miramar tennis complex      by:   July 31, 2017 

Plans are still being formed for a tennis facility that would showcase the sport’s black stars, but already its founders have scored a big win.

Venus and Serena Williams, two of the sport’s most prominent athletes, have pledged to donate $1 million toward the 26-court complex and museum that will be built at Miramar Regional Park.

The family did not return calls seeking comment, but their donation includes the right to name the center court after their father, Richard Williams, who started coaching his daughters when they were only 4 and guided their careers.

“One of the things that will be emphasized at this center is identifying local talent and helping those youth connect to proper training and guidance so that they can continue at the next level,” said Albert Tucker, vice president of Multicultural Business Development for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

The American Tennis Association’s Tennis and Education Complex will include exhibitions on the sport’s history and black athletes. It will have clay and hard-surface courts, a clubhouse with locker rooms, and treatment and fitness areas.

There is also a plan to build a $15 million hotel on 4 acres near the complex, but that project must get county approval and the funding would be separate.

In addition, the association plans to move its offices to the center and hold its national championship there. The week-long tournament, which is now held in Baltimore, features seminars and guest appearances and is estimated to bring in at least $2.4 million annually in revenue for local businesses. That money would be in addition to other events at the center that would bring in an estimated $2.6 million more.

“We are excited about this project and will continue to work with the organizers to make it a world-class tennis center,” said Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam.

The complex could be completed as early as 2020, depending on how quickly the association can raise the entire $6.6 million cost.

Last November, the city commission approved a “memorandum of understanding” of the association’s plans, and the city recently completed filing the necessary paperwork with the county to clear the way for the fundraising phase.

Organizers say the complex should spark more interest in the sport among minorities.

Tennis has been stigmatized as being an elitist sport in many minority communities, but that is changing as more stars of color, like the Williams sisters and James Blake, have reached the top.

The American Tennis Association was created a century ago after blacks were barred from participating in the country’s largest organized lawn tennis association.

The organization is accepting donations large and small to reach its goal. Anyone can buy a paving brick and have their name etched on it, said Tucker, who is working with the United States Tennis Association, the ATA and Miramar officials on the project.

Tucker said the accomplishments of the Williams sisters, as well as such trailblazers as Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe, will figure prominently in the museum.

Because tennis can be quite costly, the center’s instructors will offer free lessons and free court time, Tucker said. And the center’s tennis pros will routinely travel to east Miramar to offer instructions to neighborhood children.

Tom Mar, who has taught tennis in Pembroke Pines and Miramar for almost four decades, estimated that a promising young athlete aiming to become a professional would have to pay at least $10,000 annually for lessons, tournaments and equipment.

“Tennis has gotten so weak in the U.S. because the training has become so expensive. In countries like Russia, the government pays athletes training expenses, and that’s why they’ve risen so dramatically in recent years,” said Mar, who runs tennis at C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines.

A majority of the tennis scholarships that are handed out by historically black colleges and universities are given to budding players of color from other countries, Tucker said.

Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens is working to add tennis to its list of sports and has a tentative agreement with the ATA to use the center as its workout and competition location.

“You don’t necessarily have to be a minority to not afford tennis, but I do think it is a great thing to push for more minorities in the sport,” Mar said.

[email protected], 954-356-4188

Copyright © 2017,Sun Sentinel

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