The newly renovated Alex Rovello Memorial Tennis Courts at Berkeley Park were officially opened Sunday, July 27th. City Commissioner Amanda Fritz and Parks Director, Michael Abbate presented Jim and Geri Rovello with an endorsement letter naming the courts in Alex’s honor.
Family and friends gathered as Jim Rovello, Alex’s father, hit the first serve on the memory-filled courts. Alex began playing on these courts when he was two years old and continued to practice there with his Cleveland High School tennis team. He went on to win four state titles and his most proud moment was being part of the 2010 Cleveland High School – Boys 5A State Tennis Team. This was Cleveland’s first athletic team title. Alex went on to play for the collegiate team of his dreams, the University of Oregon.
Over the past year, 1,397 individuals and families contributed to make these renovations possible at Berkeley Park. The F. Edward and Jeanne P. Osborne Family Foundation, the Dungy Family Foundation, the Kinsman Foundation, the Portland Parks Foundation, and a grant from the United States Tennis Association provided additional funding. Donations from Phil Knight, Mark and Kelly Ruff, the Eileen Family and the Peter Pope Family added financial support to this project.
Once the project began, the city, contractors, and vendors provided unexpected generosity. Renegade Sports Surfacing, Inc. were the general contractors and provided over $10,000 of in-kind donations to the project along with their surface vendor, Deco Turf, which donated all of the court paint. Portland Road and Driveway did the court surface and asphalt work providing over $4,000 of in-kind donations. Concrete Construction Company did the concrete work and donated the pad on which the two benches are placed under the trees. The Portland Parks Department provided the services of engineer Lisa Cameli for project oversight.
After the courts were painted the Cleveland High School colors of green and yellow, Distinct Signage Group donated the stencil “AR.” This echoed the embroidered patch that University of Oregon athletes wore on their uniforms last spring to commemorate Alex.
Project Tennis Backboard donated the backboard placed on the north fence. They are a non-profit organization headed by the Hawaii Tennis Council based in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. Cheryl Shrum, Project Coordinator, is a graduate of U of O and wanted to honor Alex and provide a way to introduce new and continuing players to the game of tennis.
Benches, planter and trash receptacle were made possible with over $3,000 of in-kind donations from Precision Recreation Contractors, NW Playground and Wildwood Playground NW.
Portland Parks & Recreation provided the fountain, picnic table, flower gardens and Alex Rovello Memorial Tennis Courts signage under the Berkeley Park Sign. BC Laserworks provided the signage at cost on the east fence.
Portland-based printing company Abra Kazam hung the very first banner at Berkeley Park tennis courts, signaling this was a special place of Alex’s. It began with a portrait drawn by Andrew MacKenzie-Noice. From that initial gesture flowers appeared daily from friends and family providing the inspiration to begin this renovation project. Throughout the year, Vicki and Elmer MacKenzie-Noice from Abra Kazam worked tirelessly on creating and producing banners and apparel. All of the apparel was donated at cost with profits going into the Alex Rovello Memorial Fund.
Joan Hallquist from Portland Parks designed the memorial sign, which is placed on the viewing area outside of the courts. Cindy Chace wrote the endearing chronicle of Alex’s connection to Berkeley Park.
Daily guidance of this project was provided by Mikel Chiaratti—project manager for Renegade Sports Surfacing, Inc.; Lisa Cameli—project manager/engineer for PP&R; Jennifer Yocom—PP&R Community Relations Manager; Betsy Redfearn-PP&R Maintenance Supervisor of Berkeley Park; and Ruth Turner—USTA guidance and support.
The Alex Rovello Memorial Courts began at a kitchen meeting with Mike Rosen, father of Alex’s Cleveland High School teammate Elias Rosen. Elaine Harper a family friend May 24, 2013 at the Rovello’s. Mike provided the inspiration to dream big on this memorial and Elaine provided the fundraising knowledge to make this project possible. Their heartfelt compassion and diligence helped create this memorial to Alex.
We are grateful to the many families and individuals who made this memorial to Alex possible.
*Donations are being accepted for maintenance of the courts, future upgrade at the park and programming. Upcoming events will be posted on this website.