A relatively warm, sunny afternoon prompted Marietta Area Community Tennis Association member Dan Martin to get in some practice at the city's Lookout Park tennis courts Tuesday.
Several lengthy cracks were growing in the surface of the lower courts, aided by the winter's alternate freezing and thawing.
"A couple of years ago we used a sand mixture to fill in these cracks, but a lot of it sank through the surface and into the ground," Martin said. "And there are some serious drainage issues on these courts."
The tennis association makes regular use of the Lookout Park courts and helps keep the facilities maintained.
Last week MACTA member Art Mendicino asked Marietta City Council's lands, buildings and parks committee for some help to address the drainage and surface problems at the lower of the park's two courts.
"Water pools in some areas of the court and gets into the cracks where it freezes, and there are other spots where we suspect water is pooling underneath the courts and percolating up through the surface," he said.
Tennis courts need repair
The Marietta Area Community Tennis Association has requested the city's help in maintaining the tennis courts at Lookout Park.
The city has agreed to repair drainage structures to help keep stormwater off the courts as well as to provide sealing material to repair cracks forming in the court surface.
MACTA members have volunteered to assist with the work.
City engineer Joe Tucker added that in-ground drains surrounding the courts should be repaired. Photos of the area showed some drainage structures protruding through the surface of the ground.
"There's definitely a drainage issue that needs to be addressed soon," he said, noting that city crews could easily trench around the courts and do a proper french drain installation to carry stormwater away from the courts.
But Tucker said he would also like to have a tennis court expert take a look at the courts and make some recommendations on what other work may be needed to keep the courts in good repair.
"The Marietta College courts are maintained by Total Tennis Inc., a specialty consultant and contractor from Columbus," he said. "I would like to get recommendations from their pros and a possible proposal the next time they're in town."
Mendicino said MACTA would be willing to help with any work at the courts, and suggested members could assist in repairing cracks in the court surface if the city would provide the materials.
"They're right, but we need to stop the drainage problem before we can repair the cracks in the court surface," said Councilman Harley Noland, D-at large, who chairs the lands, buildings and parks committee.
Susie Joyce, the city's recreation clerk, said a city crew has already begun work on the drainage problem areas as weather permits.
"We've also ordered a special crack filler for the courts," she said. "We'll supply the material and MACTA members have said they'll do the work."
Joyce noted the Lookout Park courts get a lot of use during the warmer seasons and are the location for MACTA's summer youth tennis programs.