LaFortune Tennis Center Shows Improvement

OPERATION FACELIFT: Phase II of the Operation Facelift at LaFortune Park tennis center is underway. Those interested in giving to the project can call (918) 496-6232 or email Melissa McCorkle at

As Tulsa area tennis players know, there has been a major effort, led by Tulsa County Tennis Director Melissa McCorkle, to improve the tennis facilities at LaFortune Park. This will serve to answer the question of the status of the project.

To review, the project calls for 12 new additional courts, 12 new courts to replace the existing courts (they are too far gone to be simply improved), a new club house to replace the old one, a hard surface plaza area west of the existing club house, a tournament pavilion, bleachers and other amenities.

As a result of Tulsa County Commissioner Fred Perry and Tulsa County Park Director Richard Bales securing the money for the $1.2 million in public funds, bids were let several months ago and contracts awarded to architects, engineers and a general contractor to build nine courts. Walls have been built, courts have been poured and electrical construction done to provide for the new nine lighted courts, which is Phase I. Local tennis contractor John Hensel is doing the surfacing.

Since the cost of the total project is estimated at $3.8 million, it was obvious that another $2.6 million was needed from private donations. A committee went into high gear after the $1.2 million was secured. As of this writing, the committee has raised $520,000.The original plans called for four phases with Phase II being an ambitious one calling for $1.7 million in construction of a big portion of the project. With the fund raising lagging behind what was hoped for, the next phase is simply the replacement of the three lower west existing courts (courts 10, 11 and 12), beefing up the drainage that is needed due to the new parking lots and construction of part or all of the plaza.

Any further construction of additional and replacement courts, the new clubhouse and other amenities will be entirely dependent on contributions received. An exception to this is a tournament pavilion, which is being made possible due to a $50,000 pledge by Oklahoma Surgical Hospital who donated this money for that specific purpose. The committee has some fund raising ideas in mind and is appreciative of those who have given to the cause. There’s a long way to go with over $2 million needed. All those interested in giving, whether its a $125 brick or a number of naming rights, donations including $50,000 for a court, please call Operation Facelift at 496-6232, contact Melissa McCorkle at or contact a committee member. They are, in addition to McCorkle, Perry, Bales and Ward: Kelly Kenney, Mike Riggs, David Urich, Kimberly Brekke, Penny Joseph and Rebecca Maddox. Donations are tax deductible. Go to for more specific information about Operation Facelift including a “flyover” rendering of what the completed project will look like provided the funds are raised.

These are the facts of the background of how all of this came about:
The project started when Frank Ward and Melissa McCorkle approached Commissioner Perry about the LaFortune tennis facility needs shortly after he was sworn in. Perry is an avid tennis player and has played many matches at LaFortune and was aware of the needs. He subsequently got Park Director Richard Bales involved and the two of them started looking for money to get the project going. The $1.2 million is from the portion of Vision 2025 revenues, which were designated for county parks.

Updated 11-06-2008

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