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Mayor joined by Unseld, McAnulty families to dedicate Central Park tennis complex

Friday October 15, 2010

Two of Louisville’s most visionary African-American leaders were honored today with a dedication of an upgraded tennis court complex in Old Louisville’s Central Park.

On hand to formally open the Justice William E. McAnulty, Jr. Tennis Center and George Unseld Courts were members of Unseld and McAnulty’s families, as well as Mayor Jerry Abramson, Metro Councilman Deonte Hollowell, I-6, and Metro Parks officials.

McAnulty, who died in 2007, was Kentucky’s first African-American Supreme Court Justice and was the first black to hold a cabinet-level post in the state, when former Gov. John Y. Brown appointed him Justice Secretary in 1980. He was also a former Jefferson Court District Judge, Circuit Court Judge and served on the Kentucky Court of Appeals. Unseld, who died in June, first served the city of Louisville as a member of the Board of Alderman pre-merger, and was first elected to the Metro Council in 2002, serving until his death.

Unseld was personally involved in securing $475,000 for the project over three years from the Metro Council’s capital projects fund. He was on hand to help break ground at Central Park in June, shortly before his death.

A group of citizens has also raised more than $30,000 in Judge McAnulty’s memory for future improvements and added features to the complex.

“I wish that my two friends could see how great this project turned out,” Abramson said. “These two men worked tirelessly to make Louisville a better place throughout their distinguished careers as public servants, and this tennis complex is a great tribute to them, and a wonderful addition to Old Louisville.”

The complex’s improvements include timed lights that will be activated by players after dark and will remain live for an hour; stadium seating for 100 people, an upgraded drainage system that will increase longevity of the tennis court surfaces, and brand-new concrete that replicates the color of the original concrete used in construction of the park.

“Players who travel downtown to play tennis will find a tennis complex that is greatly enhanced and one of the best in Louisville,” Metro Parks Director Mike Heitz said. “I want to thank the families of Councilman Unseld and Judge McAnulty for helping us make what was their vision a reality.”

Metro Parks has 155 tennis courts in 43 local parks, including the Louisville Tennis Center in Joe Cresson Park. All courts are asphalt, except for the 11 clay courts at the Tennis Center, and six clay courts in Chickasaw Park.

Central Park is a 16-acre Olmsted Park in Old Louisville, located at 1340 South Fourth Street. It’s the home of the Old Louisville Information Center and, for the past 50 years, free Shakespeare in Central Park performances during the summer.

On the web: http://www.louisvilleky.gov/MetroParks/parks/central/