AUGUSTA — Indoor tennis is returning to Augusta, hopefully by Feb. 1.

The Kennebec Valley Tennis Association recently signed a five-year lease and renovations are underway to reopen the former indoor facility at 23 Leighton Road.

Talk of bringing back indoor tennis began shortly after Ascona Fitness closed its doors and the courts nearly six-and-half years ago. The fundraising campaign began in earnest in July and was jump-started by building owner Jason Gall who contributed over $100,000 worth of renovations to the building.

“That was the catalyst to get us going,” KVTA president Dan Bence said.

The association is $20,000 short of its goal of $300,000, money raised from gifts and pledges from over 100 individuals and families, 13 businesses and one foundation. A $15,000 challenge grant has been created and every dollar pledged from individuals and families between now and Dec. 31 will be matched.

“If we could max that out we would be slightly over our goal,” Bence said.”It’s a wonderful opportunity for somebody who hasn’t given yet.”

The new facility will feature a new white energy miser ceiling, new lighting, curtains and nets and the four courts will be resurfaced in the spring. Locker rooms and the lobby are also being renovated.

A-Copi has purchased the naming rights for the new facility. Other major donors include Kennebec Savings Bank, Charlie’s Motor Mall, Gagne and Son Concrete, Wayne Community Tennis Players and Hammond Lumber.

A primary focus of the new facility will be the development of youth tennis programs in the area.

“Having indoor tennis courts in Augusta again would provide a great opportunity to strengthen the areas’ high school programs,” Hall-Dale High School junior Clio Barr said.

Other sports including pickle ball, badminton, and volleyball will also be offered.

The facility is advertising for a manager who will serve in a part-time capacity. Once a manager is hired, a tennis pro and front desk personnel will also be hired.

Bence said if everything isn’t ready by Feb. 1 it should be ready sometime during the month. Membership and hourly rates are being finalized and should be ready this week. Gift certificates are also now available. The courts can’t be resurfaced until the outdoor temperature rises but Bence said “everything will be very playable.”

For more information contact Bence (624-2560, [email protected]), Deidre Hutchins (446-6280, [email protected]) or Carol Ladd (242-8071, [email protected]).

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638[email protected]Twitter: @GaryHawkinsKJ