The renovation of a historic 125-year-old tennis complex in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park officially broke ground Wednesday at a ceremony attended by city officials, parks boosters and tennis enthusiasts.
The $27 million project will include 17 U.S. Tennis Association-regulation courts, a sunken feature court, and a dedicated pickleball court.
Other additions are a 7,800-square-foot clubhouse with a players lounge, recreation and locker rooms, a kitchen, and a garden area.
The renovated facility will also have a dedicated classroom allowing expansion of a city recreation program providing after-school tennis instruction, academic tutoring and mentoring to youths from underserved neighborhoods in San Francisco.
The center was established in 1894 and has played host to such greats as Billie Jean King and local standout Peanut Harper Louie.
Last year, the center had 600,000 visits, but years of heavy use left cracked and damaged court surfaces. The renovation will also address drainage and lighting issues and Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility requirements, among other work.
Work is expected to take about 18 months, said Tamara Barak Aparton of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department.
The project is being funded by a public-private partnership that included donations from the Taube Philanthropies, the Lisa & Douglas Goldman Fund, the Koret Foundation, and Jackie and Joby Pritzker, along with $4.5 million from the city's 2012 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks bond measure.