Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Wed, July 17

Column: Great work to get YC tennis facilities up to par

The efforts of many people will once again bring about a real positive change in up-grading the tennis facilities at Yavapai College at the six courts known as Roughrider Park.

These courts, built in the early 1970's in conjunction with both the city and college, have in many ways become the mainstay of public tennis in the Prescott area.

Normally a set of asphalt courts last about 20 to 25 years. And with an overlay of two inches of asphalt about 15 years ago, the Roughrider courts life was somewhat extended. Unfortunately, asphalt courts tend to crack and the asphalt oils dry out so there becomes a point of no return and the efforts of the community must decide to lay a facility to rest or rebuild it.

In the favor of tennis - and at a great recreational site that is central in location and somewhat shielded from windy conditions - the college (who now have full control and ownership of this facility) decided to try to obtain matching funds and replace all six courts, applying for a State of Arizona Heritage Fund grant.

In the 11th hour and after hours of meetings, grant writing, studies, surveys, core samples, pictures, money set aside and bids, the college was ready to submit its paperwork for the good possibility of receiving enough matching funds to totally tear out and rebuild all six courts, only to hear a couple days before the deadline that there would be no funds to apply for because of the current state of the economy.

But something still had to be done to get us through a few more years if this facility were to stay open and safe.

The last resurfacing of the courts had been in 2001, which was done by George Reynolds and his mighty volunteer crew. And then over the past eight years this same group and the college maintenance staff had done crack repair as needed, using money from the college and Millie Ryan Tennis Trust Fund (which is now almost depleted).

Normal resurfacing of tennis courts is about every five years and between the cracks now present, the age of the facility and the painted surface wearing thin, the Roughrider courts were very rough and becoming a safety concern.

We use these courts for many functions: college tennis classes, Drop-In-Tennis, USTA league play, the Yavapai County Tournament, an enormous amount of public play and Quick-Start Tennis for youths. These courts have been a godsend to our tennis playing community.

So, plan B went into effect.

Plan B was to go back, take out all the loose material from the cracks, use the blower to clean them out the rest of the way, chisel a little where needed and then go back in with special crack filler and get them all closed up.

That was followed by a special solution that is mixed and then squeegee across the closed cracks and scrapped and sanded down to a fairly smooth flat surface.

And the college maintenance crew and our volunteers, once again headed up by George Reynolds, did all of that. Not only did the volunteers help with the courts, many of them went around and spruced up the grounds, weed eating, trimming bushes and juniper trees and the whole facility is looking really good.

So as of today, General Acrylics, a company from the Phoenix area that resurfaces courts, will be putting down new paint. It will take them about seven or eight days, depending on the weather to get a coating of black with two green coats and then the white lines applied.

By June 1, we should look as good as we can without replacing the courts...which we still need to plan for in the near future.

The Millie Ryan Tennis Fund has given approval to purchase any new nets we need as well as court squeegees to give the final touches of what will seem like an almost new facility to start off the summer tennis season.

When the community works together, not only do we save money, but also we gain a respect for one another creating solid friendships and insights that are meaningful for future endeavors that you can rest assure will be forth coming on many fronts.

(Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 35 years in the racquet and health club industry. He can be reached at 928-445-1331 or choward4541@q.com)

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