Displaced high school tennis teams, deteriorating community facilities and potential liability have a way of getting the ball rolling off the court.
In a few short weeks since learning of the condition of Bellville’s tennis courts and the village’s contractual agreement, council is ready to act.
“I think we should fix it now. The kids and the community deserve it,” said Parks and Recreation Committee President Larry Rose. “We just need to figure out where we can get the money to do it.”
According to a contract drafted between the village and the Clear Fork School System, Bellville is obligated to do the general repair and maintenance of the existing facilities. The parks department has resurfaced the community’s weathered courts three times since construction, but has not done so recently.
“If we repair the courts now, the school board may be able to help us out a bit,” said Bellville Mayor Darrell Banks during tonight’s Parks and Recreation Committee meeting. “They (Clear Fork schools) don’t want to do anything until they know if they’re going to have to reconstruct the elementaries.”
The estimated costs for a temporary resurfacing project will run the village about $17,000 and only last four to five years stated Banks.
“We can pay $48,000 for a major repair, but the school board has talked about building six new courts somewhere else,” he said.
The reason Clear Fork would like to relocate the facility is that currently the courts sit in the midst of a flood zone.
“We should find a new home for these things,” said Bellville resident Rich Osborn who was in attendance at the meeting. “If we are talking about flood water getting up in there, they need a new home.”
As for the funding for the new courts, both council members and villagers proposed possible avenues for Bellville to get the required money for the project.
“The money situation is awful thin,” said Rose of the village’s current budget.
“I don’t see why Bellville would have to foot the whole bill,” said Clear Fork tennis volunteer Carl Gonzalez who was also at the meeting. “They were generous to put the courts in to begin with. The school board has the money,they should help out.”
Gonzalez also expressed concern over the possibility of litigation against the village as a result of the tennis courts’ condition.
“If someone got hurt on there, they could sue the schools,” said Gonzalez. “I don’t want them to then come back and sue the village as a result.”
Since the Clear Fork girls tennis team’s season is over, the village is aiming to do the repairs sometime in the spring before the boys’ tennis season.
“I think we should look to close the courts for now,” said Banks. “And then get things started in the spring.”
Once the current resurfacing is complete, the village will look to absolve the contract that places the court’s entire financial burden on Bellville.
Council did not propose any concrete legislation but echoed the sentiment of the board stating they believe the courts should be repaired as soon as possible.
With the increased tennis participation among Clear Fork athletes, the village now faces a dilemma to either temporarily fix the issue or draft a long-term solution for the problem.
Reach Jones on Twitter @Bellville_Jones or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org