Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, Patrick J. Sullivan, Executive Director of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management, and the Springfield Parks Commission held a ceremony this morning to dedicate the tennis courts in Forest Park in honor of Jerry Radding.
Mayor Sarno recently funded the $450,000 renovation of the 15 hard top courts. The project included a complete restoration not limited to reclaiming courts surface, improved drainage, new fencing, new nets and posts. The recent renovation has been welcomed by area residents, gym classes at Forest Park Middle School and the American International College tennis team.
During the past six months, Mayor Sarno and the Park Commission were petitioned through letters and emails to name the courts honoring Springfield’s longtime friend of tennis, Jerry Radding. Mr. Radding worked forty plus years for the Springfield Republican as a sports writer and was well known for his weekly column “Off the Racquet”. Throughout his career he was recognized with many awards including media recognition from the University of Massachusetts, Springfield College, and AIC. He was recognized as a Tennis Friend of the Year in 1991.
Jerry was well known throughout the Pioneer Valley for his passion for the game. Due to his dedication to both his work and love for tennis he gave his time on a variety of boards, including the Honors Committee at the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the Board of Directors at the Springfield Tennis Club.
Mayor Sarno stated, “Jerry Radding and the game of tennis go hand in hand. We are thrilled to honor Springfield’s longtime friend and mentor. When you review his career and the tournaments he helped establish, encouraging both young and old to be involved in the game, this is a great legacy he has provided to our community. It is very fitting to name these courts in his honor. Special shout out to Mr. Ron Davis and Mr. Garry Brown, who really pushed for the naming these courts in honor of Mr. Radding.”
Executive Director Sullivan stated, “Jerry has ensured the game of tennis has had a pivotal role in Western Mass. Thousands upon thousands have benefitted from his commitment to the game of tennis. We have many courts throughout the city and this is in no small part of his tireless efforts to promote the game getting both the young and old involved. The Springfield Tennis Club saved the clay courts in the 1980’s from being replaced with a parking lot and the partnership still is in place to day. Thanks to Jerry Radding the game of tennis is alive and well in the City of Springfield.”