Plan in place to fix Price tennis courts
After more than two years of researching possible options for fixing the city's deteriorating tennis courts, a possible plan is in the works that could see the courts repaired by 2015.
Price City council members passed a unanimous motion that supports a $610,000 plan that would clean up and repair the six courts already in place. The motion authorizes the city to commit up to $200,000 from ZAP (Zoo, Arts and Parks) tax funds to provide the funding from the city for the project.
The plan in place would see three entities, including Price City, Carbon County and Carbon School District, split the total cost of the project. The project, which was first discussed two years ago this month, has not been discussed much since a temporary plan was put in place to save the courts while the details on a long term plan were being sought out.
Robert Richens and Nick Mahleres, members of the committee created to help save the tennis courts, said they have been working on proposals and searching for the best plan to have all entities in the project agree on. Richens said during their research, it was found that replacing the courts entirely "would have been too much" at a cost of well over $1 million.
"We're trying to be as conscientious as we can about the money," said Richens.
If the proposed plan goes through with all entities coming together on equal funding, the courts would be closed for 90 days for construction through the summer of 2015 and would be ready to go in time for the start of the 2015-16 school year for Carbon High School. Jones and DeMille Engineering provided the tennis court committee with a proposed plan to fix the courts.
Before attending the council meeting, Richens and Mahleres both spoke before the Carbon School District board on the same evening. The school board looked at the project favorably and would support the current plan if the other entities pick up their portion of the total construction cost.
Both Price City and the Carbon School Board previously passed unanimous votes for an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding). The previous plan supported in the MOU between Price City and Carbon School District saw the courts get a small makeover by way of re-patching of the playing surfaces. Mahleres at the time said the work would help expand the life of the tennis courts for a period of 1 to 3 years. The money for the project, a total up to $35,000, was split between both Price City and Carbon School District. The MOU also called for $1,000 to be spent per year for the maintenance by both the school district and the city.
Price City council member Rick Davis questioned how many tennis courts would be needed, not only to meet the needs of the high school, but the community as well. Nick Tatton, Price City community director, said because the current plan is looking to repair the courts where they are now located, that the options would be to have zero, three or six courts total.
While the city is confident that ZAP tax funds would cover their portion of the repairs, council member Layne Miller said he was worried that other areas of recreation would be hurt with the focus solely on fixing the tennis courts.
"I understand we need new tennis courts, but do we need six courts?" Miller questioned. He cited other areas that could use ZAP tax funds including Washington Park and the Wave Pool, which will need to purchase a new bubble to cover it during the cold months.
However, one concern among council members is if the current courts are not fully repaired, then the city may be dealing with the same situation of having to repair them again down the road.
The city's risk management a few years ago deemed the courts too unsafe for use by tennis players. Carbon High Tennis coaches Tom Alleman and Pete Riggs said at the time that they had found cracks on the playing surface which have been filled in by the city before. The top layer of asphalt had separated and was split in some areas, they noted. The overall age of the courts, which are said to be at least 30 years old, could be up to 50 years old for some of the courts.
"If we don't do this right, then we may be revisiting this every three to five years," said council member Wayne Clausing.
With the cost of the project one concern, council member Grady McEvoy suggested that other entities including USU Eastern be approached about helping with the funding, mainly due to the proximity of the courts to the campus.
Should the plan go forward with all entities approval, council members said they want to make sure the area is safe for the community to use and has good curb appeal to entice possible tournaments or invitationals to come to the area.
"It's (tennis courts) still a good public facility that people use," said McEvoy.