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Tennis Courts Renovation Update - July 2014

posted Jul 9, 2014, 6:49 AM by Henri Uehara
Dear Stillwater Tennis Community,

We would like to update the tennis community on the progress the City is making toward upgrading its tennis facilities. As many of you may be aware, the City Council approved funding totaling $400,000 on June 2, 2014 for the renovation of the Couch Park tennis courts.

The no thought approach would be to just rebuild the 4 existing Couch Park courts and be done with it, a path that would have most likely been taken in the past. The downside to this is that the tennis community would be denied the use of the only lighted tennis courts in town and relegated to just the 4 Sunset Courts for up to 2 months during tennis playing season in the spring, summer or fall. This would also not address the long term shortage of courts for a city with a population of 50,000, would not save any money over building new courts and not solve the longer term need for a centralized tennis facility that would allow hosting of USTA and OSSAA tennis tournaments.

The STA has begun working with the City administration for the past month to come up with a longer term plan that would address not only the quality but quantity of courts in town. With the cost of building new courts versus reconstructing existing courts essentially the same, the STA has asked that the FY 2015 budgeted funds be used to construct new courts to allow all existing courts to remain in service. This obviously leads to the question of where to site the new courts.

With the help of STA member and OSU Professor of Architecture Jeanne Homer, several possibilities were considered ranging from building new courts adjacent to the existing Couch Park courts on the unused softball field east of the courts, to locating new courts on the former Hamilton football field along with the use of the Hamilton Fieldhouse to form a future city tennis center, to locating courts at either Southern Woods (12th & Washington) or at Boomer Lake (Lakeview & Husband). A slideshow showing each site and the pros and cons of each location can be found on the STA website - stillwatertennis.org/save-our-courts.

After viewing all three locations as well as the Hamilton Fieldhouse and discussing the costs and benefits of each, the STA Board of Directors determined that locating new courts at Couch Park along with re-purposing of the Hamilton Fieldhouse into a tennis clubhouse would be the most ideal due to the minimal site prep work needed to begin construction and the existence of parking and supporting infrastructure in the area.

This recommendation to the City will be further refined over the coming weeks with the ultimate goal of coming up with a concrete long term plan to provide a sufficient number of quality courts in town in an inviting setting that we can all be proud of. We welcome your feedback and look forward to updating you as we make further progress.

Sincerely yours,

Henri Uehara
Stillwater Tennis Association
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