HAWICK is set to boast three new all-weather tennis courts as part of a £200,000 development.
And it is hoped the courts will form the first phase of a multi-million pound multi-use sports facility around Volunteer Park.
First Minister Alex Salmond announced on Tuesday that Bill McLaren Park Ltd, the body coordinating plans for the area, had received £77,000 from the government’s Active Places Fund, towards the state-of-the-art, floodlit courts.
He told the Hawick News: “Awarding funding to a project linked to rugby legend Bill McLaren is particularly apt in this community.
“He helped inspire people into the game of rugby but also into sport, so it’s very fitting that, in conjunction with Bill’s Foundation, that this is happening.”
Mr Salmond confirmed the tennis courts project was one of 40 community sports and physical activity developments across Scotland benefiting from a £2million pot to ensure a legacy from next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Further funding has come from the Bill McLaren Foundation, Roxburgh Sports Council and the tennis club itself.
Peter Gordon, development manager for Tennis Scotland, said: “Wilton Park and Hawick Tennis Club has struggled with poor facilities. For a town the size of Hawick, what was provided was quite inadequate.
“What they will end up with are the very best courts, close to the school, which will hopefully attract more people to take up the sport.”
There are more than 70 kids at the club, many of whom have represented the town at Borders and national level. It also boasts both healthy gents and ladies sections.
Club chairman Eddie Brogan, whlo has worked on the funding application for over three years, said: “This substantial award is a huge step towards new courts being made available to the townsfolk of Hawick in the not-too-distant future.”
And Brian Renwick, director of the Bill McLaren Foundation, hoped it would be the phase in creating a multi-use facility, which would include a new 3G pitch and shared changing area.
He said: “Hopefully this is the first step forward to revamp the area into a multi-sport social area.”