Michael Frailey and Ted Butz first became tennis buddies when the two were on the Stroudsburg High School tennis team. Both became successful Stroudsburg businessmen, and both shared the same dilemma. “Where do you find people to play tennis?” posed Frailey.
The two joined up with colleagues on the courts and formed SARTA: Stroud Area Regional Tennis Association, an organization that has already kick-started its goal to “promote the growth of tennis as a means of healthful recreation and physical fitness in the Stroud Area/Monroe County PA region.” Butz says it is fortunate that “the Board of Directors came together at the same time with diverse talents and expertise from marketing, tennis, education to reach this goal.”
With 8 competitive teams already in place and e-mail blasts shooting out to over 300 enthusiasts, SARTA is embracing players of all abilities. Club events such as “Breakfast at Wimbledon,” First Friday night, social round robins at Stroudsburg Intermediate Elementary School and chartered buses to the US Open have charged up members to take on the ultimate vision: a place to play.
SARTA now wants to pull its dream project into the realm of reality by constructing an indoor and outdoor tennis facility, a training/recreation center for men, women, and children of all ages.
“Tennis players now have to drive out of the area to find competitive play,” says Frailey, who serves as President of the SARTA Board. “Tennis is growing as a sport, but local growth is stymied by a lack of year round facilities. For half the year we have to hang up the rackets and wait for the next season.”
The approximately $1.7 million needed to construct such a facility with 6 indoor and 10 outdoor courts doesn’t seem out of reach for these savvy businessmen. “You start with a business plan, with 501(c)(3) status” says Butz. “You find funds, raise money, and then you build it.”
“The appeal of the Pocono Mountains is in its quality as a green, healthy area,” explains Frailey. “We want to partner with groups that promote the outdoor lifestyle, connecting with greenways, with hiking and biking trails.” SARTA is working with Stroud Region Open Space programs and other public entities to raise funds. “Our missions really merge,” says Frailey. “We’re about promoting healthy recreational lifestyles.”