New Boston Village Councilman Dan Fetty totes around a big plastic box loaded with more papers than you would probably ever want to read, but the dreams in all that paperwork came to fruition last week when the village dedicated the New Boston tennis courts. All his applications for grants, letters to officials, and material used to learn about the world of grants has paid off. The project was near and dear to Dan Fetty’s heart.
“I played tennis years and years and years ago at the Sciotoville Tennis League. Matter of fact, we were a part of a group that established the Sciotoville Tennis League,” Fetty said. “Then, as we moved on, my son and my daughter, Rodney and Rachel, played tennis in New Boston Schools.
The New Boston tennis courts began to fall deeply into disrepair, and eventually basically wore away until they were no longer playable and closed in April 2012. That just wouldn’t do for Dan Fetty.
“Mr. (Steve) Hamilton said they were going to be closed and there was no money to fix them,” Fetty said. “It was at that time – it’s kind of an emotional time for me – but I said, ‘we have to have tennis courts especially because my kids played there, we have our schools which need the tennis courts, and I’ll make the commitment to find the money to fix these tennis courts.’”
That’s precisely what he did.
“Little did I know what I was getting into,” Fetty said.
Baby steps were in order. The first thing Fetty had to do was find out how you go about getting funding for a project. He was told he needed to form a committee but considered that too cumbersome.
“I said, we know what we want. We know what we’re going to do, let’s go forward,” Fetty said. He began to hunt down grant money. He contacted the office of Senator Sherrod Brown, who sent him information on a Department of Real Estate Nature Works Grant, but found it was not available until 2015, so he applied for several other grants in the county.
“The Scioto Foundation gave us a grant of $10,000 which was our first big boost to get us going,” Fetty said. “Then I realized I was going to need more money, so I, in turn, started sending letters out to various businesses, individuals, and alumni in the county and across the country and overseas.”
Fetty said some responded with no money, and others responded with donations like $100, $25 and he counted every dollar toward the project. Meanwhile, the project took the form of a plan. They then talked to various asphalt companies, and, as a result, had a company put a coating of Petrotac over the existing surface to cover the cracks. They then added two inches of asphalt.
They had their estimate, $102,000, and contacted Tennis Technologies in Louisville, Kentucky. Fetty and others commenced to tear the tennis courts out, and village employees took the net posts and the old fencing out. The asphalt crumbled as they worked. At that point, they had to re-do their game plan.
“What we ended up with was totally new tennis courts,” Fetty said ‘We had new fencing put up.” They went from the old chain link fencing to black vinyl-coated fencing.”
In May 2015, Fetty and Hamilton got together on the Ohio Department of Real Estate Nature Works grant and got the notification that they would be receiving the Scioto County portion — $67,165.
“It was 35 pages long,” Fetty said. “I had never done anything like that.” The paperwork paid off.”
He said most of what was done was done with local money, local businesses, and local people making donations.
On Tuesday, the SOC I Tennis Tournament was being held in New Boston — on the very courts that Fetty worked so hard to bring back to life.
Fetty becomes emotional when he thinks of how all the hard work has resulted in beautiful new tennis courts in the Village of new Boston.
“I want to especially thank the Village of New Boston, New Boston Local Schools, the Scioto Foundation, the businesses, individuals and alumni who made a donation toward replacement of the courts,” Fetty said. “To me, it displayed a group of people who love and support their community, and thanks to all the contractors who helped make this project a reality.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewisPDT.