Tennis courts could get new life through alternate funding

Thursday, March 4, 2004

Indian Foothills Park's tennis courts could soon get some much-needed improvements through two new funding ideas being explored.

The worsening condition of the tennis courts has been a topic of discussion at nearly every meeting of the Marshall Park Board since November, when a group of tennis players came to ask that something be done.

Susan Carney, Marshall High School boys tennis coach, returned Wednesday to once again speak with the board. With preparations for the tennis season beginning, Carney said she was concerned about a number of planned events. Because some of the events attract more than 100 participants, both the MHS and Indian Foothills Park courts will be needed.

"With the way the park's courts are now, we couldn't use them," Carney said.

In an effort to help, she had found two grants which she was willing to apply for. In order to do so, she will need information from park staff. The board gave its consensus to proceed with the applications and pledged to offer assistance as needed.

Funding has been a key issue in the discussion of how to repair the courts. The park lacks sufficient funding in both its general revenue fund and park improvement budget to build new courts, estimated to cost about $200,000 for work that would be a long-term solution, and the condition of the courts makes simply resurfacing them foolhardy, the board has indicated previously.

Mayor Connie Latimer, also present Wednesday, offered another plan for funding the repairs. She said when the certificate of participation to fund park improvements was obtained, about $600,000 was set aside in escrow to cover interest payments on the certificate. Latimer said, with the approval of the Marshall City Council, about $25,000 of those funds could be used for the project, with the city paying the remainder of the cost.

Latimer said the idea is to prepare the surface of the courts and apply a 2-inch asphalt overlay. Once this is done, the net posts will be reset and the courts will be sealed, colored and striped. Estimates for the work place the final cost at about $50,000.

If approved by the council, work would commence as soon as weather permits and could be finished by late April or early May.

Contact at Chris Post at

marshallhealth@socket.net

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