Above photo: Erika Piper at the 2017 Tuxedo Junior Open. Photo courtesy of Karl Mendoza at www.kamera8studios.ca.

Major facility upgrades at Tuxedo Tennis Club stand as a tribute to project leader Bill Thomas.

Thomas was the driving force behind a series of projects at TTC, which included LED energy-efficient lighting on two newly resurfaced courts, a repaved parking lot, a re-shingled clubhouse roof and the installation new eavestroughs. He passed away August 2.

“Bill was one of those guys who could turn a vision into a reality,” said Tuxedo Tennis Club board member Jack Dent. “He knew how to apply for grants, where to go and who to talk to. He was our go-to guy.”

Thomas, a TTC board member, was a professional engineer (Thomas Design Builder Ltd.).

“He always wanted to ‘tennis-up’ the place,” Dent said of Thomas. “One of his ideas was to get banners and sell them to sponsors. He got the banners and he got his daughter to design the banners. Then he went out and sold them. Then he went out and got them made. That’s an indication of the guy he was.”

The TTC board of directors and club members worked hard to complete the facility upgrades this past summer. They are now enjoying the improvements, including extended playing time on courts 5 & 6 with the LED lights.

“It’s really amazing to play or watch under those lights,” Dent said. “It’s really high-end lighting. Even the ball seems sharper.”

The club’s parking lot, which is shared with Tuxedo Lawn Bowling Club and Pembina Trails School Division, was converted into an asphalt parking lot.

“The parking lot here for years was a gravel parking lot,” said Dent. “It was really in rough shape, to the point that most of us parked on the grass.”

The Courts 5 & 6 Redevelopment, Expansion and Lighting Project was completed in April, 2017. The project was supported by the club’s financial and volunteer investment, along with a $50,000 Community Incentive grant from the City of Winnipeg and $20,000 of funding from the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program.

Funding for the Parking Lot Redevelopment Project – in addition to other improvements such as installing accessible parking stalls and a new sidewalk from the parking lot to the tennis clubhouse – came from the City of Winnipeg through the 2017 Parks and Recreation Enhancement Program in the amount of about $120,000.

The official unveiling of the TTC facility upgrades was made September 19 by City Councillor Marty Morantz (Charleswood-Tuxedo-Whyte Ridge). On September 20, a Tuxedo Tennis Club Celebration Event was held for members to celebrate the completion of the projects.

“It was also an opportunity for us to pay tribute to Bill Thomas, Bill’s wife Brenda, and their two girls,” Dent said of the celebration event. “We have a plaque that’s made that recognizes Bill. We’ll have it mounted in a suitable place that will recognize his efforts for years to come.”

The facility upgrades are being enjoyed by all who come to TTC, including members, lesson students and players in Tennis Manitoba tournaments. In 2017 the club hosted the Tuxedo Junior Open, the Tuxedo Open, the Tennis U Manitoba Finals, and Rogers Rookie Tour events.

“The big thing for us was the work Bill Thomas put in, and also the support we got from Councillor Marty Morantz,” said Dent. “Without what they were able to do for us it wouldn’t have been as successful as I think it is.”

Bill Thomas (front) was the project leader for TTC facility upgrades.

Councillor Marty Morantz officially unveiled the TTC facility upgrades September 19.