Longtime Peachtree City resident Lou DeFranco was the dean of the Glenloch Tennis Court.
A man with a mission, DeFranco would be the first on the courts in the morning. Not for his own workout or a match; he was there to squeegee the court, or remove debris so the first matches could begin around 10 or 10:30 a.m.
DeFranco was fondly remembered last week as the city rededicated the newly-renovated Glenloch Recreation Center in what some hope will be the rebirth of a revitalization for the whole neighborhood, one of the oldest in the city.
The tennis courts at Glenloch will bear DeFranco’s name as a testament to the legacy he left behind, and his widow Esther helped cut the ribbon at the ceremony to dedicate the newly-renovated facility.
More than just tennis courts, Glenloch also has a public pool, soccer fields and an indoor area where recreational classes are taught. The renovation has been a labor of love in some respects, as the city’s public works and recreation employees broke in the facility with a luncheon in celebration of the event.
Community Services Director Jon Rorie noted the city has more than 400 park acres in town.
“I still think that recreation in this city is a huge asset,” Rorie said.
The project was funded with money from the city’s $3 million facilities bond that was designed to renovate and improve the city’s aging facilities including a number of recreation sites that had become dilapidated, or at the very best, quite worn down.
“If you go to the city’s various parks around the city, you will see a lot of improvements,” Rorie said.
DeFranco was an advocate for the tennis courts, and recognizing his efforts is a way for the city to say thanks to the community for keeping the facilities going throughout the years, Rorie added.
Rorie also lauded city staff for coming together as a team to manage the project, as the roof of the facility was rotting and needed to be replaced. That new roof was put on by two of the city’s part-time employees, he added.
The project has involved the public works, streets, stormwater, buildings and grounds and recreation employees along with the finance department and volunteers.
“Every project across the city has required a true team effort to make it happen,” Rorie said. “There is not one man, one person, one woman who has made it happen. It has been volunteers across the city. It has been employees both part time and full time, it has been everybody in the city as a whole working together as a team.”
Rorie warned that the city has a long ways to go to keep moving forward and make sure city facilities “are representative of the city and the community as a whole.”
Esther DeFranco was touched by all those who turned up for the ceremony, particularly a cadre of tennis players who will be carrying on her husband’s legacy.
“Thank you so very much to everybody that is here and supported Lou. Thank you,” Mrs. DeFranco said.
PTC ‘horsed around’ at Glenloch Stables before recreation center came along
By CAROLYN CARY
Back in the 1970’s the City of Peachtree City had a large horse stable where the Glenloch Recreation Center is located now. It was entitled the Glenloch Stables.
Those citizens with horses could rent out the stalls as well as take lessons in the fine art of horse riding.
In 1976 our country was celebrating its bicentennial and wagon trains, complete with Conestoga wagons, left the contiguous states to all arrive in Yorktown, Pennsylvania by July 4. Needless to say, those out West had to start in February. The one in Georgia began at Stone Mountain the end of May and Peachtree City was its first stop. The train averaged 42 miles a day. At the end of the horses and wagons a Georgia State Patrol car would inch along.
If the Bicentennial Wagon Train stopped in your county for overnight, the county was obligated to put on a show that evening. Having been named the chairman of Fayette’s event, I scrambled to put something together. We held this at Drake Field and hoped a couple hundred people would show up. Our efforts were rewarded with 900 citizens showing up.
The mayor of Peachtree City at that time was the late Stanley Morgan.
I was fortunate that his city had horse stables as it was a convenient place to put this wagon train. We did not have to feed these folks as everyone who had signed on to ride knew in advance they had to provide their own food. Many had trailers that would go on ahead of the wagon trains arrival and this is where they ate and slept.
The next morning they left Peachtree City and ambled down Highway 74 into our Town of Brooks. At that time Brooks had a canning plant and it was quite proud to have the only industry of this type in Fayette County. It produced a Brunswick Stew that was delicious. The town had offered in advance to feed lunch to everyone on the wagon train and that offer was accepted.
The head of the wagon train was Louis Rickman, who later made an appearance in the movie “Deliverance.”
I have a necklace from this event with a silver Conestoga wagon on it and yes, it’s a treasured keepsake.