A little love? The status of tennis courts

The Marietta Area Community Tennis Association (MACTA) will finally see the tennis courts at Lookout Park get repairs, as Marietta City Council has agreed to give some money for its improvement.

However, some city residents are saying council needs to do more, including create a longtime maintenance plan for its two courts.

MACTA President Steve Ellis said not only have the Lookout Park courts have some problems, the ones at Indian Acres do too.

“Generally, the court is surrounded by big trees,” Ellis said. “When the leaves fall, they sit and leave black marks on the courts. Weeds are growing inside the fence line. There’s not routine maintenance on our tennis facilities.”

Councilman Steve Thomas, D-3rd Ward, acknowledged that the courts need a little work done.

“It does need some loving care like our other parks,” he said.

Art Mendicinio, member of MACTA said there should be a maintenance plan for the city’s courts, which will help cut back on big ticket expenses.

“(The city needs to) come up with a real program to maintain instead of having a knee-jerk reaction when somebody comes in and says it’s not right and it gets fixed,” he said.

Marietta Councilman Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward, said that while there isn’t a maintenance plan, he agrees that one needs to be implemented.

“We’re trying to be proactive rather than reactive,” he said.

While Mendicino and Ellis suggested the city could use its capital improvements fund, Vukovic said the city has to be choosy with that budget.

“There are an awful lot of demands on the capital improvements budget,” said Vukovic. “The demands on that fund have it stretched pretty thin…(and) the council has to make difficult choices…We have to prioritize things; (do we buy) an ambulance or dump truck, or equipment to keep our facilities up to the high standards that the city expects? That’s our top priority.”

Vukovic said the city is giving more than $10,000 for the betterment of the courts at Lookout Park.

“There’s been a continuing drainage issue because of soil conditions at the park,” he said. “MACTA came to us and called council’s attention to the need to spend some money on drainage and repairs…With the windfall from the inheritance money, the city is receiving…we are appropriating $11,000 and the city crews are going to perform the drainage work.”

Mendicinio said he’s pleased with the way things turned out.

“They were very conscientious about money spending,” he said. “Things worked out OK.”

Likewise, Judy Piersall, co-leader of the group, said she’s very happy, especially after council had asked the group to put forth some money to help with repairs, which aren’t feasible.

“We understand the city’s capabilities are limited,” she said. “We are very happy council has agreed to complete the drainage…We’re a nonprofit organization that gets together simply because we love tennis. We charge the minimum for membership…We just don’t have nearly what it takes to maintain, to improve the courts.”

Most of the money comes from a specific line item, but the courts aren’t designated a specific amount, said Susan Joyce, public facilities office manager.

“We have a repair/maintenance line item,” said Joyce. “There’s really not one set amount for the tennis courts.”

One of the city’s other courts, near Marietta Middle School, are owned by Marietta City Schools.

Tiger Tennis Camp Coach Chris Mayer said that they could also use some work.

“Tennis courts are expensive,” said Mayer. “The courts here…(are) playable…They’ve got cracks. We’ve played on worse, we’ve played on better as a team.”