$9.8M Tennis Facility Planned for Chicago's South Side
It's game, set, match for a new tennis facility on Chicago's South Side.
And it's not your typical part district courts. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and XS Tennis announced Wednesday the creation of a $9.8 million, 112,000-square-foot "world class tennis facility" housing 10 courts, a fitness center, a running track and even classrooms.
The facility replaces the old Robert Taylor Homes in the city's Washington Park neighborhood.
A rendering of the project, dubbed the XS Tennis Village, shows indoor and outdoor spaces with the courts at the heart of the property.
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Emanuel said the village will double XS Tennis Foundation’s investment in Chicago Public Schools programming from 10 participating schools to 20. It also will expose "more than 4,000 CPS students to the sport of tennis and the habits of an active and healthy lifestyle," the mayor said.
Taylor Townsend, an 18-year-old professional tennis player and Chicago native, was on hand Wednesday for the news conference announcing the new facility.
"This whole facility, this whole project is going to be providing so many opportunities for so many kids, and to build a community, and it's great because we need it," said Taylor, who has qualified for the upcoming French Open.
The founder of XS Tennis, Kamau Murray, helped convince Emanauel of the need for the world-class facility on the South Side.
"Minorities are very interested in tennis, they just don't have access to it," Murray said.
"This will actually allow us to invite more students out of the school gymnasiums into a real tennis court and real tennis program."
XS Tennis said it worked with the city to acquire 22 acres of land for the project. The facility also will house tennis programs for the University of Chicago and University of Illinois-Chicago, according to XS Tennis.
"The new XS Tennis Village will serve as a community anchor and provide opportunity to players of all ages and levels and community meeting and recreational space for Chicago’s South Side," the group said.