www.mybaycity.com June 12, 2019
Community Article 11541


Tennis Facility Newest Community Recreation Asset

June 12, 2019
By: Dave Rogers

It all finally came together and the Janet Jopke Tennis Center in Richard Shaw Park opened with hundreds of well-wishers on June 6.

The tennis community broadened from neighbors Dr. Gerald and Janet Schloff and Rick and Mary Drzyga to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). The courts memorialize Dr. Janet Jopke, a Bay Cityan who rose to the superintendency of the Troy School District. Dr. Jopke's, estate headed by retired automotive executive Gerald Jopke made a substantial contribution to the courts development in her honor. The Shaw family contribution memoriaizes the late Richard Shaw, builder and contractor

Youngsters thronged the bright blue courts and were encouraged by the likes of Mark Jaffe, 19 times state champion, and Central High coach Joe Ricard cheering them on.

"This tennis park and greenspace is creating new opportunities for engagement in the Bay City community," said MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Katharine Czarnecki. "We are pleased to provide resources for this effort through our Public Spaces Community Places program."

The Janet Jopke Tennis Park has been years in the making, born from a communal demand for usable tennis courts following the decay of decades-old courts. At one time there were nearly 50 tennis courts in Bay City -- now very few are usable. This campaign will complete the park to include a greenspace, eight handicap accessible tennis courts, a building with a storage room and two ADA compliant restrooms, two parking lots, lots of shade trees and space for outdoor activities like yoga, dance and more. The tennis park's facilities and accessibility will establish the space as a gathering area for public events, allowing the site to be used for far more than just tennis.

"The MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places program added legitimacy to our project through the professionalism it provided. In addition, it heightened awareness of our efforts by boosting local outreach," said Joe Ricard, president of the Bay Community Tennis Association. "We wish we had been aware of the PSCP program years ago."

Public Spaces Community Places is a collaborative effort of the MEDC, the Michigan Municipal League, and Patronicity, in which local residents can use crowdfunding to be part of the development of strategic projects in their communities and be backed with a matching grant from MEDC. Communities, nonprofits and other business entities can apply at https://patronicity.com/puremichigan.

"Providing engaging and accessible parks is key to great placemaking," said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and executive director of the Michigan Municipal League. "This multi-use tennis park will enhance the community's options for recreation as well as public event space." The Public Spaces Community Places initiative started in 2014 with MEDC providing matched funding of up to $50,000 for community improvement projects throughout Michigan. As of April 2019, MEDC has provided $6,269,44 in matching grants. Since the launch of the program, 203 projects have been successful in reaching their goal, with more than $7 million raised from 38,945 individual donors.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state's marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan's economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. # # #

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