Greene County Tennis Association

Greeneville, Tennessee

Greenville and Greene County are located along I-81 on the eastern border of Tennessee. Founded in 1783 as Tennessee’s second oldest town, Greenville, was the capital of the State of Franklin in the late 18th-century. Today, Greene County is blessed with rich architecture and amenities in historic downtown Greeneville, strong public schools and colleges, unique natural assets and a diversified modern economy.

Greene County and Greeneville also have great shared recreation assets and a history of successful community investments in tennis facilities and programming that provide community livability and economic contributions. The community also has an important leadership asset in the Greene County Tennis Association (GCTA) non-profit organization that led the development of the Greene County Tennis Association Complex and sports tennis programming.

In 2007, GCTA leaders raised $540,000 that included privately donated funds, large grants from the US Tennis Association and a private foundation, $50,000 each from Greene County and Greeneville, and a $15,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture to construct the tennis complex. Since that time, GCTA leaders have managed the public use facility and provided a broad array of programming and events for residents and visitors.   

Partnerships and Programming

In 2016, community leaders saw the opportunity to increase usage of the facility by tourists and enhance both the association and tennis complex assets. New TNECD tourism grant funding was identified for comprehensive facility and maintenance updates that would allow the community to successfully leverage local public and private contributions to increase tennis tournament revenues and enhance services to residents.

The Greene County Mayor led efforts to apply for a TNECD Tourism Enhancement Grant in partnership with the Town of Greeneville and association leaders. GCTA rallied the community’s partners to provide local matching funding for the needed improvements including the resurfacing of 8 hard surface and clay tennis courts, landscaping, repair and sealing of concrete sidewalks and an asphalt parking lot, and signage on a nearby four-lane highway. Partnerships between the local governments, tennis association, public schools and college, recreation and public health departments, community leaders, and residents created strong buy-in and commitment of resources for the successful upgrades.

Additionally, GCTA leaders have created partnerships that operate the facility and provide a range of tennis programming for citizens of all ages that maximize the facility’s use and increase tourism revenues. Joint programming with Greene County public schools provide youth of all ages the opportunity to play at no cost and compete in tennis competitions. Youth programs include 10 & Under programs, junior instruction, camps, clinics, Free Tennis Play Days and Festivals, Junior Team Tennis leagues, Schools Tennis, and sanctioned junior tournaments.  All five Greene County high school teams use the center in the TSSAA Spring season and the center hosts district and regional TSSAA events.  

GCTA also has a Schools Initiative program. Since 2011, GCTA has leveraged USTA, USTA Southern, USTA Tennessee, and local foundation grants matched by school resources to equip fifteen local schools with $35,000 in tennis equipment and programming ensuring that tennis is part of the schools' PE curricula. GTCA also works with home school groups, Boy and Girl Scout leaders and churches to reach as many children as possible. Since 2011, GCTA leaders have come close to their goal of introducing every child in the county to tennis through service to over 15,000 children. Tusculum College is another strong partner. Each year the college’s community service projects bring young adults to participate in community events, tournaments and facility improvements, and college teams use the courts for regular play and tournaments.

Weekly adult Tennis Tuesdays provide social and active living opportunities that support the county’s Healthy Tennessee objectives. GCTA Adult programs include all USTA adult leagues (Adult, Mixed, Tri-Level, and Combo), instruction, clinics, and non-sanctioned tournaments. GCTA staff also report that the upgrades have also resulted in much more resident use through the Free Play Time program, and it is very frequent that all hard courts are occupied on week nights.

Community and Economic Impact

Greene County Tourism officials report that tennis tournaments hosted in conjunction with the United State Tennis Association (USTA) have significantly increased sports tennis tourism revenues and serve residents and visitors of all ages. The GCTA facility is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at no charge to players and the community. Since completion of upgrades in November of 2017, direct and indirect economic impact is projected to increase by 122% in 2018 from 2017 totals. 2018 results include:

Total Youth Served  1,526 (900 in High School TSSAA , 430 in Youth Clinics, 160 in Play Dates and Challenge Ladder, 36 in High School Clinics)
Total Adults Served  944 (178 in Tennis Tuesdays, 40 in Adult Clinics, 460 in Clay Court Players, 48 in Fast 4 Tournaments)
Total Tournaments and Events 102
Total Community Leaders Engaged 300
Total Community Organizations Engaged 25
2018 TOTAL SPORTS TENNIS TOURNAMENT ECONOMIC IMPACT (Greene County Partnership Tourism projections)  $151,875
USTA Sanctioned Junior Tennis Tournament Direct Impact (270 players X 2 days @ $75 per day) $40,500
USTA Sanctioned Junior Tennis Tournament Indirect Impact  ($2.75 TDTD sports tournament economic impact multiplier X $40,500 = Tennis Tournament Indirect Impact) $111,375

Project Funding

TNECD Tourism Grant (improvements) $45,000
Greene County Tennis Association Cash Match  (improvements) $25,000
Town of Greeneville Parks and Recreation In-kind  (construction and installation) $25,000
TOTAL PROJECT FUNDING (State grant funding, GCTA cash and local government in-kind contributions) $95,000

Project Leadership and Partners

Greene County Tennis Association – Board Chair – Project Contact
Greene County – Mayor – Project Contact
Town of Greenville Parks and Recreation
Greene County Partnership Tourism Sports Council
Greeneville Public Schools
Greene County Public Schools
Tusculum College
Greeneville-Greene County Family YMCA
Boys & Girls Club of Greeneville-Greene County
Noon Exchange Club
Youth Builders of Greeneville
First Tennessee Foundation
USTA Southern Foundation
Southern Tennis Foundation
Tennessee Tennis Patrons Foundation
Unaka Foundation
Andrew Johnson Bank
C&C Millwright Maintenance
Greeneville Federal Bank
Keller Glasko, Inc
Dr. and Mrs. John Lamons
Langhlin Memorial Hospital
Kay Watson Leonard Family
Dr. Jonathan Rogers
United States Tennis Association
Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

For project contact visit the Greene County Tennis Association.


TNECD and TDTD Tourism Enhancement Grant Program

Tourism is one of the largest industries and most important economic drivers in Tennessee. The Tourism Enhancement Grant was developed to help communities improve their tourism assets or develop new infrastructure to increase tourism-related economic impact through the Governor’s Rural Task Force and Tennessee Rural Economic Opportunity Act of 2016 and 2017.

For more information visit TNECD Community and Rural Development.