Local tennis players cry foul

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County tennis courts come under fire

By Carol A. Clark

Cracking and crumbling asphalt at the Urban Park tennis courts riles local players including longtime player John Dienes.
“The county spends a lot on maintaining the tennis courts, but often the money is not spent prudently,” Dienes said. “The Urban courts were just resurfaced and a new fence added, but the most urgent needs were not addressed. The asphalt around the courts is very uneven and dangerous and has caused serious injury to players moving at high speed. A player fell and broke her wrist a couple of months ago.”
The asphalt was untouched during the recent renovation, Dienes said, adding that the new fence does not reach the ground evenly, allowing tennis balls to roll beneath it – especially where asphalt is missing.
Dienes has played tennis for 30 years and currently plays 2-3 times per week, he said.
“It’s always been bad but now it’s getting worse,” he said. “One place that’s particularly bad is where the lady fell down. The county has tried to fix the problem by filling the cracks with tar but that doesn’t work. That fence was monstrously expensive and people liked the old fence better because this one is shiny, it’s like chrome and not what people want at a tennis court. A flat green would have been better. A complete list describing all of the maintenance issues would be too long for print, but what’s been mentioned is a prime example,” Dienes said.
“Most of us feel that the amount of funding is not the only issue, rather inadequate attention to detail by the county in project conception and contracting are the problems,” Dienes said. “This is not limited to tennis courts. The Blue Whale (Aquatic Center) and the weird library (Mesa Public Library) are other projects that did not receive the detailed attention they needed when they were conceived and built. Something should be done.”
Parks Superintendent Jeff Humpton said a work order to repair the asphalt at the Urban Park court has been generated.
“We received e-mails from some of the tennis people and a work order was  given to the pavement division last week,” Humpton said. “There was an old repair and the frost heaved it. The pavement division will get in there and make a 24-inch cut and run the existing asphalt up to the cut.”
The Parks Division oversees maintenance on 19 tennis courts throughout the county and this particular court issue was not a priority until recently, he said.
“When the lady was hurt it moved up the list – it’s not that it was ignored – it was one of those things that had to move itself up to the top of the list,” Humpton said. “Within the next couple of weeks the problem should be repaired.”