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During Mother's Day Week, Geri and Jim Rovello, parents of late tennis star Alex Rovello, broke ground on their long-planned renovation of the Berkeley Park Tennis Courts, as a memorial to their son.

Alex learned to play tennis there, and became a tennis champion at Cleveland High School and also at the University of Oregon before losing his life in a cliff diving accident last year.

In cooperation with Portland Parks & Recreation, his parents hope to inspire other families to enjoy the sport. The United States Tennis Association, the Commerce-Cleveland High School Alumni Association, and a host of other donors, helped the family raise $175,000 for Phase One of the project. They are now looking to secure funding for Phase Two.

by: LANCE HEISLER - In early May, the Rovello family and others involved in the project held a simple net-cutting ceremony to mark the beginning of the phase one court renovation. It involved Elaine Harper and Mike Rosen, the original support team that guided the Rovellos in their renovation dream. Shown are, from left, Mike Rosen, Jim Rovello, Geri Rovello and Elaine Harper.Phase One goals include resurfacing the courts, replacing fencing, updating court facilities and drainage, and adding a drinking fountain and ADA access. Phase Two highlights will include designing a viewing area with benches and a memorial kiosk, and establishing a fund to provide activities and events to promote tennis. The renovated courts will formally open on July 27, with a dedication recognizing Alex's superior tennis record.

“While our loss is insurmountable,” says Geri, “We’re focusing on the positive effects that this memorial will provide to other families.”

Along with their support team, Jim & Geri met at Berkeley Park – at S.E. Bybee Blvd. and 39th Avenue (Cesar Chavez Blvd.) – to hold a simple net-cutting ceremony, to mark the beginning of the project by Renegade Sports Surfacing. For more information on the Alex Rovello Memorial Project, go online to: www.AlexRovelloMemorial.org.

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