EAST ORANGE, NJ - After remaining closed for several years following extreme damage from Hurricane Sandy, the tennis and handball courts located in Soverel Park are once again open for public play, city officials announced.      

The $608,927 renovation project was made possible by matching grants from Essex County Recreation & Open Space and the East Orange Open Space Funds. The courts, which have been completely rebuilt, include four new regulation tennis courts and two new handball courts. The tennis courts also have been striped appropriately for junior tennis instruction and play to encourage a new generation of tennis players. 

On Wednesday, September 14, 2016, at 1:30pm, Mayor Lester E. Taylor III, the East Orange City Council, and the East Orange Open Space Committee will host a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to commemorate the re-opening of the courts. All are welcome to attend. 

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“Thanks to the groundbreaking achievements of tennis powerhouses Serena and Venus Williams, more young people have become inspired to learn and master the sport of tennis,” said Mayor Lester E. Taylor III. “We are so excited to start a new era of tennis in East Orange and provide a new and improved environment for players, young and old.” 

The restoration of the courts looks to reclaim the glory years of 1975-1984, commonly known as the Golden Era of Tennis in East Orange. Then, the USTA and the ATA hosted tournaments in East Orange featuring many tennis greats, including famed tennis pioneer and former East Orange resident and Recreation Director, Althea Gibson.

Elmwood Park Tennis Courts are scheduled to start renovations this fall. 

“The East Orange Open Space Program is our opportunity to reach out and assist with local improvement projects,” said William Holt, East Orange Open Space Administrator and former city councilman. “An added benefit is the economic development impact that these projects have – they enhance our community and help attract people to our area.”