City leaders react to annual tennis tournament not taking place at Newman Tennis Center
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AUGUSTA, Ga. () – Santa may be set up at Newman, but the news was not good for some city leaders. 

“I’m extremely disappointed, and I’m not happy about it. I’m frustrated as heck because yes, it has been held at Newman, but it’s a crying shame to me,” said District 3 Commissioner Catherine-Smith McKnight.

The announcement came in a Facebook post from the CSRA Tennis Association on December 6th.

It came as a shock to the commissioner.

“I didn’t know about it until it was brought to my attention three days ago,” said Smith-McKnight. “And when I found out, I immediately sent a text message to Maurice McDowell and Takiyah Douse to tell them ‘What’s going on here?”

The decision was made by the United States Tennis Association because they were unsure if there was enough funding from the county to resurface the courts in time.

But McKnight says this problem could have been avoided.

“All these excuses about funding, and blah, blah, blah: I’m not buying it. And that’s another exact reason why I continue to push our forensic audit in Augusta, Georgia,” said Smith-McKnight.

“This city knew that tournament was hosted every year, and should have been well prepared. So, it’s sad that it has to go to another county.”

The commissioner adds with this tournament not taking place at Newman, it’s a huge loss of revenue for the county, along with the tennis center.

We reached out to the Parks and Rec Department and the Newman Tennis Center, and they were not able to comment.

But the commissioner is calling on all departments to work together and pull their own weight.

“As a city commissioner, I’m tired of hearing the excuses. I’m tired of hearing as to why we–Augusta, Georgia and Richmond County–cannot get their act together. I love Augusta, but I’m tired of the excuses, and somehow, someway, something’s got to be done,” said Smith-McKnight.

“This right here shows me the lack of communication between department heads and the city administration–they all knew that this happens yearly. And it should have been taken care of yesterday. These courts should have been maintained and prepared to go for this tournament.”

The tournament will still take place from May 31st-June 3rd of next year, but the new location has not been determined at this time.

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