The Jay Heritage Center was awarded $391,056 in Superstorm Sandy funding to repair significant roof and infrastructure damage to the 1917 Palmer Tennis House.
The Jay Heritage Center was awarded $391,056 in Superstorm Sandy funding to repair significant roof and infrastructure damage to the 1917 Palmer Tennis House. The structure located at the Jay Estate in Rye is the third oldest remaining indoor tennis house in the country. The grant will allow the Center to save the original wood truss system and copper trimmed skylights as well as stabilize the stone foundation and clapboard siding. Improvements will facilitate historic usage and interpretation.
Congressman Eliot Engel, who wrote a letter of support for the project, said, “Superstorm Sandy took a heavy toll on areas of the Long Island Sound, particularly Rye, which is still recovering from the damage almost three years later. The roof of the Palmer Tennis House at the historic Jay Heritage Center endured significant damage in the storm, and as a result was in desperate need of repairs. Now, thanks to Governor Cuomo’s allocation of $391,056 in grant money to the Center, the roof can be stabilized and restored, and this historic property can once again be enjoyed by everyone in the Rye community and beyond.”
JHC was one of 16 historic organizations awarded a share of more than $6 million in aid to restore NY heritage sites devastated by the 2012 hurricane. Fraunces Tavern, Old Westbury Gardens, and Green-Wood Cemetery were among the other sites awarded grants.
Once preserved and rehabilitated, the 1917 Palmer Indoor Tennis House has the potential to be a resonant venue for young individuals to learn the sport of tennis and its life lessons of sportsmanship in a rare historic setting. With this grant as a keystone, JHC hopes that private donors and corporations who are passionate about preservation and their community will step forward and help complete the project.
Assemblyman Steve Otis, who worked to preserve this building when he was mayor of Rye, remarked: “The Palmer Tennis House is of great architectural and historical importance and its restoration offers valuable opportunities for public use and enjoyment.”
The project has received a ringing endorsement from the USTA, which has offices in nearby White Plains. Executive Director Gordon Smith wrote: “The USTA believes in celebrating inclusion and promoting the idea that tennis should be available to everyone to play and compete equally and fairly. We are committed to diversity, which is a pillar principle behind our signature tournament, the US Open. By restoring the Palmer Tennis House, this will open such doors.”
The Jay Heritage Center is the non-profit steward of the Jay Estate grounds and buildings under a public-private partnership agreement with NY State Parks and Westchester County Parks.