Magnolia adds tennis courts at Unity Park

The city of Magnolia's new public tennis courts are complete and are expected to open to the public in March.

The Gullo Family Tennis Center, in Unity Park, is a collaboration between the city of Magnolia, Magnolia Independent School District and community volunteers.

The courts were paid for through a community fundraising campaign, which raised more than $400,000, said Deborah Rose Miller, president of the Magnolia ISD school board. Most of the money was raised during a single-day event at Unity Park two years ago, she said.

The Gullo family, which owns car dealerships in the area, donated the largest portion, Miller said.

Randy Ortwein, a tennis pro and tennis instructor who lives in Magnolia, helped with the campaign.

"One of the reasons I got involved is there are no public facilities in Magnolia for children and adults to play tennis," Ortwein said. "We have a lot of people from Magnolia who play league and tournament tennis. And we are in a unique situation in Magnolia where we are one of the only districts with junior high tennis teams."

The three courts are full-size adult regulation, but they also have lines shortening the courts for children's games. They will be maintained by MISD.

"We are hoping over time the school district will be able to use the courts to introduce tennis to elementary school kids," Ortwein said. "And my goal has been for kids and adults to use the courts for open play."