Dothan's Westgate Tennis Center is home to several tournaments and leagues throughout the southeast United States. A recent grant is about to make the facility bigger and better. This means good things for local revenue. With each event comes millions of dollars for the city.
A new grant given by the United States Tennis Association is allowing for tens of thousands of dollars in improvements to the facility.
Westgate Tennis Center is one of the best tennis complexes in the country.
A study by Southern Tennis Association shows that there are a higher number of tennis activities in the Dothan Houston County area than the entire rest of the state.
Dothan Tennis Assoc. President Robin Hall said, "It brings people from all over the area to play tennis here. We've recently had the pro tournament with people coming from 20 different countries. We also had a high school shoot out; we had 16 teams from across the state."
Four new tennis courts are currently under construction at the center. When they finish in about a month, there will be twenty courts altogether. This solves one of the facility’s biggest concerns.
"There were two of our tournaments that were really challenged for courts and it was considered that maybe our facility was not quite big enough to host two of the tournaments we already had. So it was quite a concern to the whole city that we don't lose anything that we have and that we try to get a bigger piece of the pie," said Kim Meeker, Dothan Leisure Services, Asst. Dir.
But now the biggest problem is finding shaded areas and enough bathrooms for those courts.
So a $71,500 grant given by the Southern Tennis Association is providing enough money for both, which will attract more tournaments to the area.
"Every hotel owner, every motel owner, every restaurant, service station, drug store person should be out there at Westgate with their shovels, helping you break ground for those new bathrooms because not only are you helping them but your tax base has increased," said Jeff Gray, Southern Tennis Assoc. President.
The increase is a trend officials are hoping will continue for years to come.
Fifty-seven cities across the country applied for the grant and Dothan was awarded the largest amount of money.