A Public Hearing will be held at the Board of Trustee Meeting on Monday, June 25, 2018, at SOPAC located at 1 SOPAC Way, to discuss the naming the South Orange Tennis Courts to the “Kenneth Allen Graham Tennis Courts”

PUBLIC HEARING

The Township of South Orange Village

Sign Up for E-News

Naming Committee

A Public Hearing will be held at the Board of Trustee Meeting on Monday, June 25, 2018, at SOPAC located at 1 SOPAC Way, to discuss the naming the South Orange Tennis Courts outside the Baird Community Center at 5 Mead Street, South Orange to the “Kenneth Allen Graham Tennis Courts”

Community members wishing to testify will be limited to two (2) minutes to speak. Written Statements of unlimited length may be submitted as well. Members of community groups or other organized groups are requested to coordinate their testimony and select a spokesperson or two to express the view on behalf of their group. Any letters already submitted are considered recorded testimony.

ABOUT KENNETH ALLEN GRAHAM

Kenneth Allen Graham, oldest of seven children, was born June 28, 1942, and was a true ambassador for the game of tennis. Even as a child, friends say he embraced the sport, and would locate walls that he and his friends could hit against, as courts were scarce particularly for blacks during that time. A lifelong resident of South Orange, NJ., Kenneth graduated from the Newark College of Arts and Sciences in 1976, with a B.A. in Zoology, but turned his skills and passion for tennis and teaching, into a coaching career. Kenneth Graham flourished as an accomplished instructor at leading New Jersey Racquet clubs, and Head Men’s Tennis Coach for FDU - Teaneck, and Rutgers-Newark.  But, it was on his home courts, at the Baird Community Center, where he rooted his generous and enthusiastic spirit, and for decades, until his death on June 11, 2017, nurtured these public courts.  He welcomed and encouraged all ages and races, to gather, socialize, learn and play there.  He invested hours of his time in the center of South Orange, through every season, inviting, connecting, inspiring and teaching.

So many benefited from Kenny’s efforts, within the community, and beyond. His neighbors and friends refer to him as an “icon,” and  “a part of the fabric” of the South Orange Community. It became obvious to that Kenneth’s intention was not how much money he could earn, but rather, how many people he could help, on and off the court; known to quietly re-direct the lives of many troubled youth.  Kenny’s compassionate nature surely derived from his parents, who too, were kind and active community members.  Robert Graham, owned a taxi service in town, and Lilian Graham, was an outspoken, charitable, devoted mother and wife. Like his parents,  Kenny left a legacy of hard work, dedication, compassion, and inclusion, in the heart of South Orange, New Jersey.