City Council wants recommendation on tennis courts

Published 6:07 pm Monday, August 15, 2016

Washington’s City Council wants the city’s Recreation Advisory Committee to make a recommendation about the fate of the tennis courts at Bug House Park, even though some council members believe they know what the committee will recommend — building new tennis courts at the Moore Sports Complex.

After receiving an update on the Bug House Park courts from City Manager Bobby Roberson last week, the council decided to refer the matter to the committee for additional consideration. “On the tennis courts, it doesn’t appear we’re going to be able to pave the existing tennis courts with the amount of money allocated,” Roberson told the council.

“You indicated that we can’t resurface the courts with the amount of money we allocated. The question is: can the current courts be resurfaced and then what is that cost?” Councilman Doug Mercer said.

Roberson replied: “The cost, based on the information I received, is between $35,000 and $40,000. They would not recommend it. Nobody that we’ve been able to contact will step up and say they’re willing to do it because of the stress fractures in the current concrete.”

Mercer said the city needs to make sure the committee discusses resurfacing the existing courts “versus” building new ones. “I know that their recommendation is — I can tell you what it is right now without it going back. They’re going to recommend building a new court at the McConnell Complex,” he said.

“We don’t know that,” replied Councilman Larry Beeman.

“Wait and see,” said Mercer.

For at least a year, city officials talked about improving Bug House Park, including repairing or replacing the park’s deteriorating tennis courts. In June, during a discussion about the park, Roberson told the council the contractor hired to resurface the tennis terminated the contract, so the courts remain in disrepair. Roberson also said the Washington (noon) Rotary is interested in helping rehabilitate and improve the park. Removing the chain-link fence at the park is being considered because it poses problems for city maintenance crews. Roberson said adding additional playground equipment at the park is another option being studied.

The Washington Area Historic Foundation is supporting the city’s effort to rejuvenate the waterfront park. The foundation plans to upgrade the park’s center signage area by reconditioning the soil and planting liriope, lantana and knockout roses to enhance the entrance to the park. Also, the foundation will donate benches for the park. One bench has been purchased. The foundation is raising money to buy a second bench, according to a city document. The benches will match the ones in Harding Square at the southern terminus of Market Street.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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