Tennis courts serve up a winner

Tennis lovers in Pauls Valley have been served up a winner as a project to give some local courts a complete makeover got a recent OK.

The start of actual work shouldn’t be far away as members of the PV City Council have approved the next step toward the first phase of a total upgrade to the tennis courts in the local Wacker Park.

It starts with the planned renovation of the four courts on the park’s east side with the remaining eight courts only yards away coming later.

With most of the costs coming from privately raised money the cost to resurface the four courts, complete with new fencing and netting, is around $69,000.

Among the interested members of the new nonprofit Pauls Valley Parks Foundation watching the approval come during a recent council meeting was Kahn Nirschl.

“We’ll get on their calendar as soon as possible,” Nirschl said about the contractor hired to complete the four-court portion of the project.

“We hope to have the four courts on the east side done in time for spring sports.”

The longer range plan with a much higher price tag is focused on the eight tennis courts on the park’s west side.

All are described as being in “bad shape” with a need to be torn up and rebuilt completely with the finished product to someday be regulation size courts.

The price tag for this second phase is estimated to be in the $750,000 range, which could include new and easier to maintain lights for night play.

With this part of the project plans are to rebuild the new courts without impacting the neighboring Rotary Rose Garden or vehicle traffic around the park.

“When I was in high school we had local tournaments out there,” Nirschl said.

“We even had college teams come here. Now those courts are so bad it’s hard for the high school to even practice out there.”

Efforts to raise more money and seek grants will remain ongoing to pay for the future eight-court project.

This past summer the project did get an early boost with the approval of $15,000 in local tourism tax funds.

The parks foundation is still fairly new after being formed to start moving toward making improvements to the local parks.

“The first thing we identified were the tennis courts. It was spearheaded in 2016 with Mark Green and a conversation we had with him,” he said, referring to Pauls Valley’s school tennis coach.

“We were formed to address many needs that have come over the course of years.”

The group wants to eventually create an endowment as a way to maintain the local parks well into the future.

Nirschl said the group has “gotten a lot of traction this last year even with the pandemic.”

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