City court renovations will begin this month

The tale of the deteriorating tennis courts will soon see a happy ending.

After years of patching holes and repairing cracks, and watching them reform, the Hood River Tennis Court Committee received good news this week that its fundraising efforts would meet the $261,179 needed to do major work on the city tennis courts (Tsuruta Courts) on May Street.

With a tight deadline to begin the project, the committee was in a last-ditch effort to raise the remaining $25,000 needed or risk delaying the project for another year or having it canceled altogether. At a special meeting Friday, Hood River City Council voted to grant the needed funds for the project after city staff said they could come up with the money by shifting funds from different city departments and projects.

“It really came down to the wire,” said Leslie Kerr, HRTCC member and tennis coach. “We were in a mad scramble and were not willing to accept that this would be delayed for another year. It’s wonderful that the city was able to find enough money to make it happen.”

Kerr called the renovations a win-win for the city and the tennis community since the improvements will significantly improve the playing experience and will reduce maintenance costs to the city, which owns the courts but has not been in the financial position to fund needed renovations itself.

The project will include nearly $130,000 in work by Crestline Construction to work on infrastructure, including moving lights to the outside of the courts and fixing drainage issues that have been a major source of problems.

Another $132,000 will be used for a new court surface called “Premiere Court,” which will be laid over the current surface and is designed to eliminate existing cracking problems, prevent future ones and stand up to variable weather of the Northwest.

“They’ll seal the cracks, level the court and then overlay the special material,” Kerr explained. “It’s a little more expensive of a surface, but it takes less maintenance and comes with a 25-year warranty so it should last a long time.”

To reduce costs of the project, final-stage projects like landscaping and adding benches were removed from the bid and will be done though volunteer work parties and community service projects.

A major source of the funding — about $178,000 — came in the form of grants from the U.S. Tennis Association and Oregon Parks and Recreation. Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation added about $8,000 to the effort and about another $60,000 came from individual and business donations.

“The community really stepped up to make this happen,” Kerr said. “I also have to give special recognition to Bob Francis (Hood River city manager); he was a huge factor in the whole project.”

With funding secured, the project is expected to get started within a week or two, and with a tight weather timeline for installation of the new court surface, it should be completed by the end of August.

In the meantime, the popular summer youth programs run through Hood River Community Education are still happening, but have been moved to courts in White Salmon.

Kerr said there are still limited openings for summer programs; register online at

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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