Just a few weeks ago, the Price City tennis courts were in danger of closing down at the end of October to pave the way for an expansion of recreation activities at Washington Park, including a new pool at the city's Desert Wave Pool complex.
But a group of people looking to keep the courts open to the public decided to take action. They formed a committee to save the tennis courts and began reaching out to the Price City Council, Carbon School District, Carbon County Commissioners and many other entities looking for each to lend a helping hand in keeping the courts open at least until a long term plan can be put into place.
The committee's hard work has certainly been on showcase as many tennis players, both from the public and Carbon High tennis teams, and other concerned citizens have converged on meetings to show their support of keeping tennis going strong in the area. Spending hours looking for bids from contractors to do resurfacing on the courts, trying to engage a number of local and county entities to become involved in the project and examining the exact conditions of the current courts are just some of the main areas the committee has been working on.
That show of solidarity has seemed to pay off as Price City, Carbon School District and Carbon County have all agreed, in some form or another, to help out the committee in ensuring that courts will have some place in the area now and in the future.
The committee appeared in front of the Carbon School District board and the Price City Council last week to give an update on the project and discuss possible forms of funding that the two entities could become involved with. Robert Richens, who is one of the main representatives of the tennis courts committee, told the city council and the school board both that the condition of the current courts may be in far worse condition than previously thought.
"The number of cracks (on the courts) are almost double than what was first thought," Richens explained.
Despite that knowledge, Richens said the school board needed to make a decision on getting involved noting the request from the Price City Council that the committee present a final plan for the tennis courts by the end of the month.
He submitted a plan along with bids for resurfacing work that would see both Price City and Carbon School District enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) allocating funding up to $17,500 each to cover the cost of the work. By working together on this, Richens continued, the courts could be kept open for a period of up to three years.
"This makes it as cost effective as possible with all of the entities involved," he said.
Some school board members, including Wayne Woodward, had questions about how the city's expansion of recreation activities at Washington Park would play into keeping the courts open for up to three more years. Price City Councilman Jeff Nielson, who is working as a liaison for the Price City with the tennis courts committee, said that the city council is committed to helping keep the courts open until a long term master plan for tennis courts can be set into motion.
Both Price City and the Carbon School Board passed unanimous votes for an MOU and funding from each for $17,500.
This plan of action also allows for everyone involved in the project to look at the tennis courts from a long term perspective as the county has announced that it would help fund a project to build new courts for the long term. Richens said the county has agreed to help fund one third of the total costs for a long term project or up to $150,000 with the possibility for adding more to the funding dependent upon how much Price City and Carbon School District are willing to spend. While the county would help provide funding for the project, Richens said they requested not to be responsible for the required maintenance of the courts.
With both a short term plan to keep the courts open and the beginnings of a long term plan with the county offering to fund part of the project, the hard work is beginning to pay off for those involved with the tennis courts committee. When the school board passed their unanimous vote supporting an MOU with Price City, tennis committee supporters broke out into a large applause.
"We're getting close," said committee member Nick Mahlers shortly after the school board meeting.
Bringing all of the entities involved with keeping open the tennis courts has been a whirlwind of work, but has shown plenty of signs of paying off in the end, Richens said.
"It's been pretty enlightening to see all of the groups come together for this project," he said.
The committee will again be present at the Price City Council meeting next Wednesday to give their final report on the plans to keep the tennis courts open.