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New Hard Courts Honor Longtime City Employee at Bitsy Grant

August 28, 2018 05:10 PM
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The Friends of Bitsy Grant Tennis and City of Atlanta invite the public to celebrate the grand opening and dedication ceremony of the Ralph Foster Hard Courts at the Bitsy Grant Tennis Center on September 4, 2018 at 4:00 p.m.

The twelve new hard courts, along with women’s and men’s bathrooms, will replace the tennis center’s previous ten hard courts demolished in July 2018. They are named in honor of longtime City of Atlanta employee and Bitsy Grant Tennis Center desk manager Ralph Foster, known by friends and players as “Tennis Center Ralph.” Foster, who passed away in 2007, was actively involved with the Bitsy Grant Tennis Center for more than 30 years. His natural charm, practical jokes, and dynamite checkers skills kept players entertained and engaged through long court wait times.

“Ralph was the face and spirit of Bitsy Grant for decades, and we can think of no better way to pay tribute to our dear friend than by making him the namesake for our new courts,” said Dart Meadows, President of the Friends of Bitsy Grant Tennis.

The new courts were made possible by the Bobby Jones Golf Course Foundation and the generous support of the James M. Cox Foundation.

“He always answered the phone ‘Tennis Center Ralph’ so I started calling him that, and it became his nickname.  He called me ‘Newspaper Jim,’” said Jim Kennedy, Chairman of Cox Enterprises and the Cox Foundation. “He was a great guy and we are happy to name the courts in his memory.  He encouraged thousands of people to get out on the courts and be active.”

The Ralph Foster Hard Courts are part of an ongoing project to renew the historic Bobby Jones Golf Course, which sits adjacent to the tennis center. The Bobby Jones Golf Course Foundation began work on a reimagined Bobby Jones Golf Course in November 2017. The new golf course will include a revolutionary, reversible 9-hole championship course, state-of-the-art driving range, indoor instruction building, short game practice area, a new maintenance facility and more. The new golf course is projected to open in November 2018.

“We are thrilled to be working with our neighbors to create an extraordinary Bitsy Grant tennis and Bobby Jones golf experience,” said Marty Elgison, President of the Bobby Jones Golf Course Foundation. “Serving the local Atlanta community has been a top priority of this project since day one, and we are honored to oversee the building of new hard courts at Bitsy Grant and their dedication to a truly remarkable community member.”

 

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