Lisa Dimbleby, at the recent city council meeting, suggested that rather than spend money on the much needed skate park, the money would be better spent on the eight tennis courts at Pinefore Park. It would be nice if the tennis courts upgraded but the tennis courts are not always in demand, is not used exclusively for tennis and how many people play tennis as compared to those who would use a skate park? While there are already tennis courts, and regardless of conditions, obviously still playable, there is no skate park at all. So improve the already existing facilities, or create new facilities for a different demographic?
Upgrading the tennis courts is not so cut and dry either. Define upgrading, new nets or new surfaces? If it is new surfaces, what type would be picked? Asphalt or all weather (which is not really), or perhaps the rubberised cement as used at the US Open? It will probably need a committee to go visit various tennis courts around the world to decide. Other factors would include the current state of the courts, the more damage to the surface, the more expensive. The costs of a new surface vary depending on pre-existing conditions, type of surface, and how much a contractor charges. What about the fencing that surrounds the courts, surely that needs replacing as well.
Once the courts have been upgraded, who takes care of them? If spending several thousands or more, it is an investment and therefore should be looked after properly. Remove tennis nets when during the winter when no one is playing tennis. Cleaning the surface? Repairing the surface of small issues rather than waiting until they are bigger? If other activities other than tennis, partake of the courts, what possible damage could ensue?
I am a tennis player who has played for about 30 years, many of which were competing in leagues. I have played on every possible surface, clay, hard court and everyone’s favourite, grass, and the quality of the courts have varied wildly. I have played on courts that had two foot of space on the sides, public courts, even a plastic interlocking surface that became like ice when wet and generated static electricity. I don’t think the courts are in need of upgrading as urgently as a skateboard park is needed. And considering the number of tennis players in St. Thomas, it would not be the best use of the money unless the city was willing to make an investment not only in the courts but in getting more people to play.
If there is such a demand for upgraded tennis courts, why not, rather than fix the ones we have, look at perhaps laying some new courts. The perfect location would be near the Timken Center, next to the proposed skate park. That is if tennis players could bear to see young folk having fun! The Timken Center is central, has room around it, and would be the perfect place to have the site for multiple sport facilities. Come to think of it, if there is that much demand for repaired tennis courts, surely the large number of tennis players could organize a fund raiser to pay for the courts themselves?
I don’t hear too many complaints about seniors playing tennis on the side walk.