At Tsuruta Courts 'something needs to give'

October 15, 2011

Hood River's Tsuruta Tennis Courts could soon be in new hands.

Currently owned and maintained by the city, the city and a community group are exploring a transfer of ownership for the courts to allow for renovation and continued maintanance.

Hood River Valley High School girls tennis coach Leslie Kerr recently began a community effort through the Hood River County Tennis Courts Committee to seek ways to maintain the court after seeing the poor condition they were in last season.

The playing surface developed significant cracks and was slick with moss after the winter.

All sides agree City of Hood River public works has been stretched thin and doesn't have the time or manpower to keep the courts maintained.

The committee held a tournament last month to raise awareness and funds to allow for a resurfacing of the court and Kerr said it went well.

"We had a huge turnout for our tournament," she said. "We wanted to get awareness out there and I think we did a good job of that."

The group is working with the city to transfer the courts to either Hood River Schools or Hood River Parks and Rec while selling sponsorships for the courts to help pay for a complete resurfacing.

In addition to resurfacing, the light standards, which currently sit in the middle of the courts, would be moved back, a back board would be installed and the viewing area would be done to allow spectators to see matches better.

The total cost of the project would be around $190,000, with roughly $110,000 devoted to resurfacing the court.

The courts would be done with an entirely new surface used for professional competitions and has a 25-year warranty against cracking.

"We are hoping to pay for it half through donations and half through grants," Kerr said.

At the same time she is looking for sponsors interested in having naming rights for each of the four courts.

Anyone who donates more than a thousand dollars to the project would also have their names put on a plaque.

Kerr simply doesn't see the courts being able to last much longer as an effective or safe playing surface if they continue to detiorate.

"If something is not done I just can't see the high school or middle school pr grams continuing there," she said. "Something needs to give."

Hood River city manager Bob Francis said the city is open toward any options for groups who want to take over the courts.

"We would certainly look at any entity that wants to help us with it," he said.

He also added the city has been able to work co-operatively with outside groups in recreational activities before, such as the Hood River Skate Park, which is owned by the city by managed and maintained by Parks and Recreation.

When Francis raised the idea at Tuesday's city council meeting the city council said its only requirement for such a proposal would be that the courts remain free to public access as they are now.

Kerr didn't think that would be an issue.

"I don't think the public is aware that we don't have tennis courts at the high school," Kerr said. "These are the only courts for the community to use."

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