Longtime Parker Pros Open Doors Wide for Homegrown, Community-Minded Indoor Tennis Facility Where Everybody Knows Your Name
“This has been a goal of mine since college. My college adviser asked me what I wanted to do after I graduated, and I told him I wanted to own and operate a tennis club.” –Parker Racquet Club Co-Owner and General Manager Barry Riddle, who played tennis at the University of Northern Colorado and has owned Parker Tennis rec league since 2004.
“We’re excited to work with them because we know they will do a fantastic job. They are homegrown, have strong roots in the community, and they really understand what Parker residents want.” –Jim Cleveland, town of Parker Parks and Recreation manager and acting deputy town administrator
Parker Racquet Club Facts
• Six indoor cushioned-surface tennis courts
• Four outdoor post-tension tennis courts, to be completed spring 2019
• Pickleball, squash and handball courts, completion to be determined
• 135-foot-long indoor spectating mezzanine
• 1,500-square-foot outdoor patio
• 2,000-square-foot Welcome Center with locker rooms and lounge
What do you get when you take three longtime Parker tennis pros, encouraging town leaders and an eager tennis crowd wanting to stay local to play indoors? The Parker Racquet Club, a 48,000-square-foot tennis facility General Manager Barry Riddle hopes will feel like home.
“We think of it as an athletic Cheers, where you walk in the door and everyone knows your name and is glad to see you,” Barry says. The privately funded $6 million facility opens this month at the corner of Twentymile Road and Plaza Drive, across the street from The Parker Fieldhouse Recreation Center.
Barry co-owns Parker Racquet Club with Steve Prosowski, director of tennis; and Craig Marshall, director of junior tennis.
The trio has been a fixture on the Parker tennis scene for many years, coaching at Chaparral, Legend and Ponderosa high schools; and in junior and adult programs through Parker Tennis, a recreational club Barry started with his wife, Suzette, in 2004. During that time, the town has partnered with Parker Tennis to provide programming to the public. Until now, those programs have used only outdoor tennis courts, mainly at Railbender Tennis and Skate Park.
“This brings year-round tennis to Parker residents. With the weather being so unpredictable in winter, they can’t play at all or have to travel to play,” Barry says. “We also think it will bring a lot of new people into the sport.”
Parker Racquet Club is leasing the land from the town for $1 a year. Jim Cleveland, acting deputy town administrator for Parker, said the town purchased three lots many years ago for a recreation campus, two of which would become the Fieldhouse and Railbender. But the town just didn’t have the funds to build on the remaining lot. That’s when town officials approached Barry with Parker Tennis to come up with a solution.
“Any time the town can work with a private partner to leverage both private and public resources, it’s a win for the community,” says Jim, who is also the parks and recreation manager for the town. “We pride ourselves in being a leader in parks and recreation, but like all agencies, we have limited resources.
“We’re excited to work with them because we know they will do a fantastic job. They are homegrown, have strong roots in the community, and they really understand what Parker residents want.”
Tennis pro Steve says the goal with the club is to make tennis accessible by keeping court fees and memberships lower than the competition. The closest indoor tennis facilities are Lifetime Tennis and Colorado Athletic Club Inverness in Centennial and Greenwood Athletic Club in Greenwood Village.
“We’ve been around for so long, we’ve seen the pitfalls of the other clubs,” Steve says. “We have the freedom to make changes because we’re the owners.”
In the end, Barry says everyone involved in Parker Racquet Club wants it to be a state-of-the-art yet down-home club.
“People are not necessarily looking to play high-level tennis but to get better, have fun, be with their friends, and have a place they can go to that is comfortable and friendly,” he says.