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Tennis court repairs considered by committee

Representing the Roswell Tennis Association, Sandra Weikel and Holly Culberson answer questions from the city of Roswell’s General Services Committee about the Cahoon Park tennis courts on Wednesday afternoon. (Alison Penn Photo)

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Councilor Savino Sanchez says ‘the ball was dropped’ on court maintenance

Potential repair for the Cahoon Park Tennis Facilities was discussed by the city of Roswell’s General Services Committee on Wednesday.

The Parks and Recreation Commission voted to recommend approval of the repairs to the General Services Committee at the commission’s Feb. 11 meeting. At this meeting, Elizabeth Gilbert, director of administrative services for the city, said the Roswell Tennis Association (RTA) and the city had an informal agreement to repair two of the six courts every five years. She said repairs were done in 2010 and 2015, and that 2020 would be the last year agreed upon.

The estimated costs for repairs are $52,000 for a pair of courts, or $28,000 per court or $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.

City Manager Joe Neeb said the city will revisit the agreement and require a contract with the RTA. The city will also look into the needed level of maintenance for the city-owned public tennis facility.

No formal action was taken, but the committee discussed and reviewed the topic for about half an hour on Wednesday afternoon. City councilors Savino Sanchez, Jacob Roebuck, Angela Moore and Juan Oropesa were present at Wednesday’s meeting. After the discussion, Councilor Sanchez, the committee’s chairman, suggested the matter should be reviewed by staff and the contract between the city and RTA be revisited.

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Sandra Weikel, president of the RTA; Holly Culberson and Carol McGuire were the members present from the 100-member RTA, which hosts four tournaments and uses the tennis courts at Cahoon Park. Weikel and Culberson reminded the committee that the RTA has contributed funds to repair the courts, which four of the six need repairs at this time. Weikel said courts three through six have cracks, and installation without a pad below the courts caused cracking after the repairs in 2015.

For the restroom, Weikel explained to the committee that the port-a-potty is the only restroom facility near the tennis courts. McGuire referenced the film, “Field of Dreams,” saying “build it and they will come” in reference to the restroom facility the RTA is requesting near the tennis courts. Culbertson said the request for the restroom was not a large request and in the past, the RTA had a key to the restrooms at the now-closed Cahoon Park Pool.

Councilor Oropesa asked about the use of lodgers’ tax funding (a municipal tax collected on short-term rentals for tourism enhancement) for the project and asked for clarification on how it could be used, since it was approved by council to use lodgers’ tax for the Spring River Park & Zoo closed rocket play structure. Neeb said the city would look into lodgers’ tax in regard to the project. Juanita Jennings, public affairs director, who was acting as the interim staff coordinator at the meeting, said the tennis courts don’t receive the outside visitation numbers needed to qualify for lodgers’ tax use.

In reference to the courts and their maintenance, Councilor Sanchez said “the ball was dropped.” Sanchez said he was not in favor of building a restroom or the “mess” one would bring.

Councilor Roebuck said the tennis facilities were “subpar” and said that restrooms were hospitality in parks and other public places. Roebuck said the city would have to face logistics and crimes that could come from having a public restroom.

Councilor Oropesa said a temporary situation for the RTA should be looked into and offered some suggestions. Roebuck offered that the city acquire a restroom trailer for events such as the tournaments.

Jim Burress, director of Parks and Recreation, reminded the committee of the Cahoon Pavillon plan to develop the pool and suggested that the RTA could rent one of the restroom trailers in the interim.

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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