Fed Cup 2016: Donation to renovate Old A tennis courts

(From left) Mayor Billy Kenoi, Gov. David Ige, Kona Councilman Dru Kanuha, USTA president Katrina Adams and USTA Hawaii Pacific Section executive director Ron Romano. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor

Four tennis courts will be renovated and youth tennis courts added at the county’s Old Airport Park, as a part of the USTA’s Fed Cup Legacy program.

The program, started more than a decade ago, is designed to leave a lasting mark on the communities that host Fed Cup ties in the United States.

The project was announced Saturday during the first day of play between the USA and Poland at Holua Tennis Center. This is the first time Hawaii has hosted a Fed Cup tie, making it the 16th state to do so.

The Old A tennis facility will be overhauled completely, including the addition of four new hard courts in the U.S. Open “blue” surface and youth-sized tennis courts. A state-of-the-art lighting system will also be installed for fans to play at night.

It is one of the USTA’s most significant Fed Cup Legacy renovation projects to date, organizers said.

“Hawaii is a fantastic tennis town and has been a wonderful host for us during Fed Cup week,” said Katrina Adams, USTA president. “The community has truly embraced the tennis this week and fully supports the USTA’s mission of growing the game. With this Fed Cup Legacy project, we are proud to leave a significant footprint in this town by renovating the tennis courts at Kona’s Old Airport and by also giving kids the opportunity to learn and play the sport. Hawaii has been a wonderful experience for everyone involved and the USTA is honored to give Kailua-Kona’s players a new opportunity to play on world-class facilities.”

The project will be jointly executed with the USTA, the USTA Hawaii Pacific Section, the county Park & Recreation Department, County Council and Mayor’s Office. While there is no budget yet set and design plans still are being finalized, the project is expected to be completed in December.

On hand for the announcement were Gov. David Ige, Mayor Billy Kenoi and Kona Councilman Dru Kanuha, who is a tennis player and long-time fan.

“I’m excited to see that with the support of the USTA Legacy program, in partnership with the County of Hawaii, the Kona community will finally get the much-needed renovations to the Old Airport tennis courts,” Kanuha said. “This has been many years in the works and I’m glad to see it finally happening.”

Kenoi said the Fed Cup and the Legacy renovations will inspire a whole new generation of young athletes.

“It’s incredible,” he said. “It’s a great thing for our keiki to get to see these women play right here in Kona. Hopefully, it will encourage them to get out on the new courts and play some tennis.”