GRANDVILLE, Mich. — The Grand Rapids community is rallying together to save a beloved tennis and athletic facility.
The Premier Athletic and Tennis Club in Grandville may be torn down and replaced with an apartment complex in early 2023.
Calvin Soukup, 13, has been playing tennis at the club for a year-and-half now.
"My favorite thing about playing here is I get help all the time and I improve every time I come here," said Soukup. "I meet so many new people."
When he learned the club may be torn down and replaced with an apartment complex, he was devastated.
"There are other tennis clubs around this area but this one really feels like home."
Andrew Darrell is Calvin's instructor and director of the club's tennis program.
"We have 500 tennis playing members," said Darrell. "We have 2,000 members in general but we have half the travel teams in West Michigan. The sense of community in tennis here is strong and would be missed if it wasn't here anymore."
West Michigan Community Tennis needs to raise $3.5 million by Dec. 31 to purchase the club and facility, as well as to make improvements.
Within six months, they've raised up to $800,000 and hope big donors will step up during this season of giving.
"Those of you who want to serve underserved kids. Those of you who want to play tennis. Those of you who just care about the community. We need to keep this place open. We need anywhere from $100 to a million dollars," said Jack Ponstine, co-chair of the fundraising campaign.
The non-profit hopes to eventually teach life skills and tennis to local school kids, but the first step is to own the club.
"I really hope this club can keep going," said Soukup.
Gifts may be paid over a two-year pledge period so that people could maximize their giving.
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