Blue Cross Blue Shield Center for Prevention Funds Temporary Tennis Court Fixes, Multiple Uses and Community Evaluation

The Tennis Court at the Clair Nelson Center was installed in 1975-76, and has fallen into disrepair more recently due to lack of funds to maintain it adequately over the years. There are times when we wonder if the space would be better as something else, and yet, we often get feedback from folks who like to use it to play tennis, despite the cracks (and trees!).

With that in mind, we applied to and received funding from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Center for Prevention to do an Active Places Demonstration Project. The Project will allow temporary repairs to the tennis court as well as staff time to devote to a community-wide reimagining and evaluation of the space, especially as a space that would allow multiple activities.

What this means is, if you are interested in using the tennis court for any reason, please contact us! Some of the proposed uses are pickleball, basketball, skateboarding, and of course, tennis. We would like to talk to anyone interested in these activities, and any that we haven’t thought of yet. We will also have some equipment available to try out, so if you have ever wanted to try playing tennis, pickleball or skateboarding but didn’t have a place to do it or the funds to invest in equipment, now is your chance!

In particular, we will be facilitating the creation of a Youth Skateboard Club to work out the rules and promote the space as one of the few paved spaces in the Finland area for skateboarding. Helmets and wristguards will be required and there will be signage to that effect. But the space will still be available for other activities as well, and we are open to the creation of other clubs or groups if people are interested! There will be a small shed onsite that will house the equipment, and all equipment must be put away when folks are done with it, so that when the next group comes to use the space, it will be ready.

All of this will allow us to gauge whether it is a good idea to do more than a temporary fix and what redoing the court for multiple uses would look like. This project will help temporarily repair our aging infrastructure and, at the same time, illustrate how small changes to our surroundings make it easier for people to be physically active. And, by giving people opportunities to experience their neighborhood in a new way, this project also aims to build support and momentum for more permanent, long-term changes within our community.  Please contact us at 218-353-0300 or email

Photos of this project can be seen here:

Press release from Blue Cross Blue Shield Center for Prevention about the project:


Marc Smith pressure washing the cracks on the tennis court in preparation for patching.
Marc Smith pressure washing the cracks on the tennis court in preparation for patching.

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