Renovation begins on former indoor tennis facility
JANESVILLE--The owner of a company that plans to develop an indoor tennis club in Janesville is confident the game can thrive again in a community that once was tennis crazy.
Tom VanDixhorn and his family plan to open Premier Tennis & Fitness-Janesville in a 58,000-square-foot facility that was built in 1973 as an indoor tennis facility.
A group of local investors originally started Janesville Indoor Tennis & Racquet Club—JIT as it was commonly known—at 3410 Bell St. as an outlet for players who wanted a year-round game.
“Tennis was very popular at the time, in fact it was at the height of the tennis craze,” said Jim Cripe, who started the four-court club with Bob Yahr, Bud Yeomans, Stan Dufrane and Tom Gunderson.
“People were going to other places to play in the winter. We looked at a lot of other clubs and thought it could work in Janesville. It was a nice facility.”
The group tired of club management after several years and sold the operation to an Illinois investor. Eventually, tennis faded, and a local manufacturer used the facility as a warehouse.
It has been vacant for nearly two years.
VanDixhorn’s company owns several tennis clubs in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, including the Four Lakes Athletic Club in Elkhorn. It bought the Janesville facility a couple of weeks ago.
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