The new tennis facility, located at Town Hall, 21 Blue Mill Road, New Vernon, will be overseen by the Harding Township Recreation Association, (HTRA).
“This is a banner day for the residents of Harding” said Mayor Nicolas Platt in a prepared statement. “This is all thanks to the generous gift of the family of the late Ross E. Traphagen. It was simply too expensive of an undertaking for the Township Committee so the project was put off year after year" Platt said. Laura Traphagen announced the family’s $85,000 gift on November 30, 2014, the day after the re-dedication of the newly renovated Kirby Municipal Building by simply saying “it is time to give back to a town my father loved.” These new courts replace the ones installed over 34 years ago at the time the municipal building was constructed. They have been unusable for over a decade.
But these are not just ordinary tennis courts. The family insisted to exacting manufacturing specs. and to have these courts replicate the professional surface and special multilayer coatings found in Flushing Meadows, Queens, home of the U.S. Open. Even the surface paint colors are identical. It costs more but it is certainly something we can be proud of” Platt said.
Nicole Lacz, MD. Co-President of HTRA stated "we are very excited to be involved with such a magnificent facility and look forward to integrating tennis into our youth programs. We also plan to install a high end glass basketball backboard in the next couple of weeks so when tennis is not being played, people can engage in a half-court basketball game. The location of this facility is also perfect. We have wonderful parking and access to the to the Kemmerer Library, not to mention the amazing views. We cannot ask for more".
HTRA is also excited to announce that court time can now be "reserved" by going to their website www.htra.info.
The HTRA and the Township Committee are planning to have an official “ribbon cutting” event on Saturday, September 12, 2015 from 10:00 am- 2:00 pm. “This is right after the U.S. Open, and we will have professional players coming and playing some exhibition matches. We already have two players signed up" Mayor Platt says. "We don’t have bleachers, so we will encourage everyone to bring lawn chairs and have a picnic” says Dr. Lacz. “We also may introduce the idea of the HTRA sponsoring a “Harding Open Tennis Tournament” so we can have matches between some of the neighboring towns", Lacz said. "Now we have these beautiful courts. There is no limit to what we can do."