Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett — whose day began with a 5:30 a.m. game of tennis — went a step further than giving Montgomery TennisPlex his ringing endorsement during a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday.
"I look forward to coming back and playing a little tennis here," Leggett said. "So if anybody thinks they can beat me, raise your hands, I'll be back here to take you on.”
Community leaders and local tennis pros gathered in Boyds on a chilly morning to celebrate the construction of a new tennis center. The 9-acre facility will be operated by Jack Schore Tennis LLC and is expected to open at South Germantown Recreation Park in mid-September.
"You've put a kid in front of me who is ready to learn, willing to work hard, I'm there,” said the facility's namesake Jack Schore, a hall of fame coach and local tennis icon. “I can't see myself doing anything else."
Schore and co-owners Kevin Dowdell and Annie Pallie, who is Schore's wife, thanked investors, supporters from the local tennis community and Montgomery County officials before ceremoniously breaking the soil.
Schore said the project would cost around $3.5 million.
The Upcounty facility gained the backing of the Washington Kastles, which is donating $25,000 to the facility, owner Mark Ein announced Wednesday. Ein, an alumni of Schore's tennis program in Virginia, said investing in Montgomery TennisPlex was making an investment in the community.
"At the end of the day, we won't be judged by whether we've created pro tennis players but, really, by the thousands of lives that we've touched," Ein said.
Montgomery County Planning Board Director Francoise Carrier and Montgomery Parks Director Mary Bradford also spoke during the ceremony.
State Sen. Nancy King, D-dist. 39, Montgomery Village, and a representative from U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-dist. 8, were among the local government leaders in attendance.