A sport for all ages

The Town of Colonie's Parks and Recreation Department will soon offer tennis lessons run by coaches from Shaker High School.

The department has received a $5,000 grant from the United States Tennis Association that will allow it to host tennis lessons once a week for five weeks starting on Wednesday, July 20, at the Shaker High School tennis courts.

For residents, the program will cost $15 for children 18 years old or younger and $24 for adults. For non-residents, it will be $25 for children and $35 for adults.

The purpose for seeking out the grant was to expand the recreational offering of the town for the residents, said Parks Director Alicia Osur. "We're always looking for low-cost or no-cost options. That's why we got a wonderful opportunity for a whole range of people from young children to adults."

Osur said a sport like tennis does not cost much to play.

"All you really need is a racket and a can of balls," she said. "No matter what income level you are, there are so many public courts that are available to anyone."

Being a former tennis player, Osur sees a lot of benefits in playing tennis. She said it is one people can begin playing at a young age and continue playing for years. Once she heard the USTA was offering grants to towns to set up a program, she contacted USTA Eastern Vice President Gerry Cuva, the Shaker tennis coach.

He wrote up the application for the grant after getting a complete demographic study of Colonie from the town and put together a proposal for what the town would do with the money. USTA saw it as a good idea and issued the grant, he said.

Another tennis coach, Ernie Ripepi, will be running the program, and Cuva will donate some of his time to help. Cuva said what he hopes people who attend the lessons will learn the basics of the game.

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