PTC OK’s $29K fix for ice-storm-damaged tennis courts
If not repaired, city stood to lose national tourney in May
January’s ice storms have done a real number on six outdoor courts at the Peachtree City Tennis Center.
Thursday night the City Council authorized spending just under $30,000 to repair, resurface and restripe the courts.
City Leisure Services Director Randy Gaddo said ice from the storm caused hairline cracks on the courts to expand to one inch wide and up.
The city had not anticipated a need to do the work on the remaining six damaged courts, Gaddo said.
Councilman Eric Imker suggested a variety of ways to pay for the repairs, including the use of an expected $20,000 surplus from the city’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
That concept was quickly dismissed as several council members were concerned about the message that would send to the CVB board. Also, the city is contractually obligated to perform the repairs under the city’s contract with Canongate, the private company that operates the tennis center on behalf of the city.
The expenditure will come from the city’s unrestricted cash reserves. City budget policy allows this type of spending from those reserves because the expense was unforeseen, said City Finance Director Paul Salvatore.
The tennis center is owned by the city.
It was noted that Canongate has the tennis center running at a profit, and also that the company also pours its own money into facility maintenance. Canongate maintains the clay courts itself on a twice-yearly basis, it was reported.
Imker also had inquired if the tennis center would be able to host a national tournament in May if courts were merely patched in a cost-saving measure.
Tennis Center Head Pro Ben Maes said the tournament organizers have already seen the cracks and told him if they weren’t fixed, the event would be moved elsewhere.
Councilwoman Kim Learnard inquired how the city reconciled spending upwards of $29,000 on the tennis center courts when there are a number of city-operated tennis courts in the city that also need work.
Gaddo said he would be making a presentation on that matter at the upcoming city council retreat.
Before the budget crunch began several years ago, the city had the recreation-based courts on a three to five year replacement cycle, but “the budget has not supported that the last few years,” Gaddo said.
In large part because visitors take part in tournaments at the tennis center, Councilwoman Vanessa Fleisch said she felt the repairs needed to be done in full to make sure the city “puts its best face forward” and doesn’t discourage repeat visits.
In particular, if the tournament officials are unhappy with the courts, they won’t bring their events back, Fleisch noted.
"We want to present ourselves as a first-class organization, and if we do anything short we may never get another tournament,” Fleisch said.