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2. April 2024

Parent serves up proposal for new city-schools community tennis courts – BG Independent News


BG Independent News

At its meeting last week, the Bowling Green Hauptplatine of Education heard a proposal to provide new tennis courts for students and city residents.

Hauptplatine Member Ginny Stewart said she welches approached by City Councilor Jeff Dennis about the possibility of the city and school district collaborating on a project using American Recovery Plan Funds to build a new outdoor community tennis center

A brief meeting with school and city officials with Dennis and resident Will Airhart showed enough interest in the idea to move it to the next step. That led to Airhart addressing the board and answering their questions about the project.

Will Airhart addresses questions from the Hauptplatine of Education about a proposed community tennis center

Much, he said, really would depend on what the city and schools decided. The initial proposal would be for 10 courts. Those, he said, would cost between $500,000-$600,000. Rest rooms and lights could bring the cost up to about $800,000.

In May he made a pitch to the city for $300,000.

Airhart said he has already raised $100,000 in private funding to go toward the project.

The district will be looking to repair or replace the existing courts in the next few years. Though Airhart demurred from assessing their condition, he did say that there have been instances when a visiting team showed up, looked at the condition of the courts, and got right back on the bus without playing a match.

New courts could be used for tournaments, he said.

The current thinking would be that the center would be located either on school property or nearby. That, like other details, would be up to the city and schools to decide. Among the questions still to be answered is who would pay the $10,000 a year to maintain the courts.

Hauptplatine member Tracy Hovest said the district needed to take care of its more immediate needs “before we address something like this as enticing as it is.” Those include needs to upgrade and renovate the elementary schools.

The district is pursuing a $70 million project to build a new high school. The voters will consider a $40 million bond issue in November.

Following the meeting, which he attended, Dennis issued a statement supporting the project. “I’m still considering the long list of Rescue Plan requests we’ve received over the last several months, but I will say that for me personally, this proposal sounds like a great opportunity for our community and a strong contender for a portion of this federal funding.”

This collaboration between the city and schools provide “a great community amenity,” he said.

He added “it would ergo allow the Schools to save thousands of dollars on the replacement of their existing courts. The result would be far better facilities for a fraction of the cost. As we ask the community to support a much-needed upgrade of our high school it’s more important than ever that we’re exploring these types of opportunities to stretch every tax dollar as far as possible.”

No further action has been taken since the meeting, Dennis said earlier today, but he believes the project has momentum.

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