Parks and Rec Commission recommends updates to city committee
The Parks and Recreation Commission recommended approval of potential repairs for the public tennis courts and consideration to add a restroom nearby.
James Edwards made the motion to consider repairs for four tennis courts (of the total six courts) to be budgeted by the city of Roswell in the next fiscal year, including the possible addition of a restroom, and Barry Mathison seconded. The other present members, Chair JaneAnn Oldrup, Becky Joyce and Kim Elliot, voted unanimously after discussion to recommend the item to the Roswell City Council’s General Services Committee. Members Maegan Sanders and Hannah Robertson were absent.
Elizabeth Gilbert, director of administrative services, explained the need for tennis court repairs is not budgeted for by the city at this time. Though it could not be found in writing, Elizabeth Gilbert, director of administrative services for the city, said the agreement was for the city to repair courts every five years. She said there were repairs in 2010 and 2015, and that 2020 would be the last year in the “handshake agreement.”
Gilbert said the city’s project manager provided the estimated cost as included in the agenda packet. Gilbert explained it would cost $52,000 to repair a pair of courts, or $28,000 per court and $168,000 for all six. If the courts were going to be reconstructed, it would cost $52,000 per court or $312,000 for all six courts.
For other tennis court-related projects, the agenda packet listed that the city has materials available for backboard paint and repairs, and for the removal and replacement of the bleachers, it is estimated to cost $4,000.
Representatives from the Roswell Tennis Association (RTA) and Roswell residents who frequently use the courts or the surrounding area, shared some insights with the commission. Gilbert said the parks department and the RTA work together for using the courts. She said the RTA has four tournaments annually and otherwise the courts are open to the public on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Sandra Weikel, president of the RTA, said two of the six courts were in good shape, while the other four were “really cracked, really bad.” Weikel said there are over 100 members in the RTA and the RTA has two sheds and an office at the tennis courts, which they paid for and use. She said the RTA has contributed “thousands of dollars” for resurfacing the courts in the past.
At this time, there is a port-a-potty available for tennis players and park-goers near the courts. Weikel said Jack Batson, who was also at the meeting, said the city is the only one in the state that doesn’t have restroom facilities for its tennis tournaments. Weikel said a restroom was an “initial and most wanted” need by the RTA.
Jim Burress, Parks and Recreation director, said if the decision was made to construct and maintain a restroom near the tennis court, the restroom would most likely be open to the public during the park’s business hours. Burress said the need for a restroom would need to be examined.
The possible restroom would have two stalls — one for males and the other for females — and Gilbert explained other options and prices could be investigated. The public restroom facility is estimated to cost $58,000.
Oldrup said the bathroom costs were expensive and also inquired if the bleachers near the tennis courts could be replaced or fixed. Oldrup also inquired about the plan to turn the closed Cahoon Park Pool into the Cahoon Park Pavilion, saying it would be timely to combine the bathroom needs with the project.
Gilbert said the concept was adopted for the pavilion; Burress said there are restrooms included in the plan. According to previous coverage, the city’s Infrastructure Committee adopted the pavilion plan in February of last year.
A citizen, Daniel Cederberg asked if the city had conducted a survey to see how many people use Cahoon Park to see if a restroom would be a viable option. Other residents at the meeting said the Roswell Runners Club would use the restrooms as would other users — such as cyclists on Spring River Recreation Trail, extending from east Spring River Park & Zoo to Enchanted Lands Park west of the city.
Joyce said the Department of Health will be doing a walkability study on various sections of the city sometime in early March. Cederberg said the city could get a solid number from this study to decide.
Elliot said the area near the tennis courts was a “natural place” for a restroom considering all of the various recreational activities and should be a priority. Elliot said now closed, Cahoon Park Pool’s restrooms once served this need.
“It’s definitely needed,” Mathison said of restroom facilities for the tennis courts. “But again, how big, how much? I’d hate to put in a one-hole bathroom.”
The commission discussed at length the variables about building a restroom. After saying the discussion got “off-track,” Burress said the restroom would be included as part of a wishlist.
Burress presented a report saying he was unsure if funds for the “Chisum Park” were secured by city councilors from the state Legislature. Though the item was on the agenda for discussion, the committee decided to postpone the discussion on the park.
For the Roswell Recreation & Aquatic Center, Burress said the parking lot should be installed by the end of this week. He also said the gym and other fitness room floors are poured and the tentative opening date remains July 1.
City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.