Tennis court makeovers to provide activity for multi-generations
Gregory Park's tennis courts - the twin courts on the north side - will have a new look, new surface and new court options this summer. But to get there, Tony Sailer, director at Brainerd Parks and Recreation, said donations are still needed. The...
Gregory Park's tennis courts - the twin courts on the north side - will have a new look, new surface and new court options this summer.
But to get there, Tony Sailer, director at Brainerd Parks and Recreation, said donations are still needed.
The cost of resurfacing and rebuilding the two tennis courts comes with a $56,270 price tag, that's about $14,730 less than initially expected. Sailer said the drop in oil prices helped in timing of the bid. Tri-City Paving's quote for the project comes with the expectation of having the project completed by July 4.
"We are excited about this project," Sailer said. "We do know there are a lot of people who play tennis."
With a renewed emphasis on healthy activity, fitness and exercise, tennis offers a chance for multi-generational use. And these new courts in particular are designed to make that even easier. The new tennis courts will be painted to allow full court use or play at a youth course design. This allows new players, young players and older players - who may not be able to cover the court as easily - to be successful. The color of the new courts will be green and complement the trio of courts directly to the south.
In addition, the renovation will fix a practice area and hitting wall between the sets of courts. The look will change as well with new fencing that is lower on the sides of the court, dropping to 4 feet in height compared to the 10-foot fencing at the ends. Gates will be wider, now to 4 feet as well.
The smaller fencing on the sides saves money and should be aesthetically pleasing, Sailer said. Landscaping will complete the new look with a rain garden going in between the courts and the street with the help of a Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District grant.
One of the issues for the two courts, currently cracked and with holes, comes from depressions or low spots where water collects. The current courts were actually built a little below ground. The new courts will be designed to shed the water.
Sailer said the parks department is collaborating with community tennis activists like Lisa Salo to add summer programming, community education and tennis lessons. Sailer noted many of those programs have been at Forestview Middle School courts. But adding them to Gregory Park creates a central spot in the city where many children will be able to bike or walk to play. The new courts won't have lights. But there are lights on the three nearby courts.
The city is installing security cameras in Gregory Park. Sailer said there has been an increase in vandalism in the park. Last summer, he noted, someone tried to burn down the warming house. Other vandalism has been aimed at the outlets and the bandstand. The security cameras will take in the bandstand and the tennis courts.
Sailer said if anyone sees suspicious activity in the park, they should contact the police department. With this investment in the courts, Sailer also noted the skateboarders are not allowed on the courts. Signs are posted to note no skateboarding per city ordinance. Again, Sailer said anyone who sees skateboarders on the tennis courts should notify the police department.
So far, the city of Brainerd has received a $5,000 grant from the United States Tennis Association (USTA) - Northern, the section covering Minnesota. In addition, the USTA will provide $9,000 once the project is completed. Local donations brought in $7,980 so far. Sailer hopes more donations come in to help pay for the project or the money will come from the park dedication fund, meaning other projects could be left out.
Sailer, who notes the park courts are well-used, said if everyone who takes advantage of playing there sent in $10 or $20, it would help defray the renovation costs.
"Every little bit helps," Sailer said.
The city has other parks projects to complete, such as the restrooms at the Mill Avenue. The city's hockey rinks are also 20 to 30 years old and in need of attention. And there are costs with the city's new all-inclusive playground next to Miracle League Field.
"The more we can get in donations for the Gregory Park tennis projects, great," Sailer said, noting then the parks department will have more funds for the other projects on the list. Donations are tax-deductible. Sailer said the Gregory Park courts are popular and now will have a better opportunity to give the next generation of tennis players a start at a lifetime activity.
"It's going to affect all generations," Sailer said. "If you can raise a racket, it's going to benefit you whether you are 4 years old to 98."
RENEE RICHARDSON, associate editor, may be reached at 855-5852 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Dispatchbizbuzz .