Almost 30 years in the making, a plan to bring more plentiful indoor tennis opportunities to the metro area's northwest corner has been realized.
A ribbon cutting from 1-4 p.m. this Sunday at the recently opened Rogers Tennis Club will make it official. A quartet of tennis aficionados will be on hand to mark the occasion: Current Elk River tennis coach Randy Ronning, former Elks' coach Curt Johnson, plus Del Bauers and Scott Larsen.
"It's a dream come true for us," Ronning said.
The momentum that ultimately drove the project to completion finally started building about three years ago, after what Ronning called "many failed attempts" to construct a facility.
The result is a seven-court facility that Ronning said cost $3.2 million. He said Bauers and Johnson handled the private funding. Ronning and Larsen have led the way in terms of getting the word out. The club will provide junior tennis classes, adult tennis instruction as well as individual lessons.
"There is a lot of interest in tennis in this area," Ronning said. "Now we have a way to help youth players, high school players and adults grow in the sport."
In 2012, Ronning's Elk River boys' team showcased the area's high-level tennis when the Elks capped an undefeated springs season with the Class 2A state tournament championship – the first for a large-school team north of the I-694/494 loop since St. Cloud Tech won the single-class title in 1985.
Looking ahead, Ronning believes the Rogers Tennis Club would be a great site for Minnesota State High School League section tournaments.
High school teams from around the area have already benefited this fall season. On a recent rainy afternoon, girls' teams from Coon Rapids, Elk River, Maple Grove and Rogers were able to move practices inside.
"It was really cool to see kids from all those schools filling the courts," Ronning said. "That was my, 'Holy cow,' moment."