Archive for Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Centennial neighborhood residents lining up against plans for tennis courts

Members of Centennial neighborhood are unhappy with how loud people on the courts already are.

August 10, 2010


First came the football stadium at nearby Lawrence High School, then the baseball field outside their windows.

Now some residents in the Centennial neighborhood are looking to block plans for adding fences, opening gates and even installing overhead lighting at the school’s new tennis courts off Greever Terrace.

“I can already see their knees from my kitchen window,” said Ken Snyder, of daytime players rallying on the raised courts just east of his home. “I don’t really want people to look down into my backyard.”

Such opposition is the latest volley in the often-contentious dealings between neighbors and the Lawrence school district regarding athletics fields and other sites built and upgraded for the high school. What had started in 2008 as a $9 million plan to add and enhance practice fields for football and other sports at both Lawrence and Free State high schools later had blossomed into full-fledged designs for on-campus sites for competition.

Together the projects hit a price tag of $15 million, and drew a lawsuit from Centennial residents angry about expected increases in traffic, noise, drainage problems and other woes in the residential area west and south of campus. An injunction halted the district’s construction plans, until an agreement had been reached to address some concerns.

Now the new tennis courts — eight of them, opened four months ago behind the Lawrence Virtual School to replace the Lawrence Tennis Center that had removed to make way for work on the LHS campus — are the subject of neighborhood worry. Jones and others complain about noise and profanity even closer to their properties, and worry that the addition of gates on the west side could bring those problems yet closer.

With the city now contemplating plans for adding lights — officials intend to discuss prospects with neighbors and members of the Lawrence Tennis Association in the coming weeks — municipal representatives will be a major player in the conversations.

“It’s in the city’s court,” said Frank Harwood, the district’s chief operations officer.

Mark Hecker, assistant director of parks and recreation for the city, said that the community would benefit from having eight courts available for use at night, just as had been available at the Lawrence Tennis Center. But he understands that any project would need to prevent light from spilling onto adjacent residential properties.

Providing lights on four courts would comply with city code, he said, but there’s a possibility all eight could have lights if interested parties could agree to use restrictions: The lights could be off by 9 p.m. or 10 p.m., for example.

“It can be done,” Hecker said. “I don’t know if we can light all eight courts, but we need to talk with the neighbors. …

“We’d like to see if there’s a problem before there’s a problem.”


Healthcare_Moocher 7 years, 8 months ago

I'll bet there has always been a plan for these courts. You never get a straight story when it comes to building things. Good luck to the neighbors... you can't fight city hall. All you can do is vote them out and get some people who know how to manage money.

overthemoon 7 years, 8 months ago

Actually, not really. The lights were an afterthought, somehow the planners forgot that the former courts had lights and that the only time courts are used through July and August is at night (few are hardy enough for 110 degrees plus on the courts.) It was only through the diligent and persistent efforts of a few LTA leaders that the School/City agreed to try to relocate the existing lights. I guess the planners forgot or didn't know about the concessions made to the neighbors of the old courts...and none of them backed up directly to the courts as those next to the new courts. Bad planning all around. Tennis has been making a comeback, its a sport played by young and old and a good tennis center is a great asset...unless its badly planned. Shame on them....again.

Tandava 7 years, 8 months ago

Those backward fools of the Centennial Neighborhood are always against everything. "First" was not the football stadium, it was getting the no-more-than-three-unrelated-people ordinance passed. (They wanted it to be no more than two unrelated.) What's their continual problem? The Centennial Neighborhood sucks anyway.

cowboy 7 years, 8 months ago

most other neighborhoods would line up for new courts

PCC_2013 7 years, 8 months ago

Who the Hell cares dont like it move its been aproved for what a year at least. So if you knew you wouldn't like you should of move a long time ago and be happy not haveing as many vehicals parke on the streets

Glo 7 years, 8 months ago

Centennial neighborhood has tried to work with USD 497 since the conception of this idea. As far as the tennis courts were concerned, promises were made to the neighborhood to make this idea more neighborhood friendly. 1) Improved drainage. This has been a major problem! The district has attempted for the 3rd time to fix this area. Will it work? We will have to wait for rain. Sumps pumps have been added to houses, and one house directly adjoining the facilities is having major foundation work done. 2) Cedar privacy screening, chain link and landscaping was to be done on the west side of the court. Wind screen was to be added to the fence around the court. This has not been done. 3) All access west of the facilities was to be blocked to keep people and cars off of 22nd St. and out of neighbors' yards. The district just this last week put a chain link fence on the west side of the facility with a gate and were asking to accept a donation to add more gates on the west. Trash and overgrown weeds have been a problem all summer. Mosquitoes found the pools of water a friendly habitat. Any communication with USD 497 fell on deaf ears. And you wonder why Centennial Neighborhood is upset - REALLY?

sherlock 7 years, 8 months ago

sorry but IF any of you losers resided in the neighborhood, perhaps you would be considerate of those caught in the trap. Do you think any of those people right next to the tennis court, or behind the field on Alabama can ever sell their homes?> Drive around the area sometime before you are so quick to crack judgment. It was rumored that even the realtors knew of the fields coming before the homeowners did, and by then was too late! The school has generally ruined the whole area now!

Hoots 7 years, 8 months ago

I just love rumors. The Realtors knew about it when everyone else did. When it became public record. It's not like they have a Hotline to the City or School district or a crystal ball for that matter. The City and the School district are going to do whatever they want. Maybe if people were more proactive about being informed they wouldn't be surprised by everything that happens. I'm always amazed at the major issues people have no clue of.

Terry Jacobsen 7 years, 8 months ago

Ruined??? I don't think so. That neighborhood was dumpy and poorly maintained for a long time. That would be the reason their homes are un-sellable. The improvements by the school district have made the area much nicer and I would gladly live in the area.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 8 months ago

Hey, we wouldn't want kids to have any alternative to video games & tv! Kids outside playing tennis on a court in their neighborhood; how awful.

Lip service to fighting childhood obesity is a good enough effort.

beaujackson 7 years, 8 months ago

When Centennial school was built, there were over three hundred kids in Centennial Neighborhood.

Thanks to the City's lax attitude toward student rental housing ordinance, there are as many KU Students as can be crammed into over 50% of Centennial Neighborhood houses.

No families means no Kids and, no Centennial School.


sherlock 7 years, 8 months ago

ahhhhhhhhh but it isnt kids playing! Its adults. In fact the Lawrence Tennis Club is the one trying to call the "shots" with the school. You know donate the school money and see what can be bought?
Will anyone else get to play, except the club and during school, the students?

Hwy50 7 years, 8 months ago

Did you all honestly believe they'd be empty lots forever? Or should the city just continue to sprawl out?

BruceWayne 7 years, 8 months ago

I don't have a dog in this fight but my advice to the Cent folks would be to make sure your representitive OWNS a home there...just sayin'.

sherlock 7 years, 8 months ago

what empty lots Hwy 50? What are you talking about? The school squeezed everything in on their land, but was too big for the size of the area.
Bruce Wayne what are you implying? There is NO ONE person rep. its a neighborhood.
Just sayin, "you know nothing"

Flap Doodle 7 years, 8 months ago

I'll go get some popsicles. It's going to be a warm week.

BruceWayne 7 years, 8 months ago

yes, but it appears the "cool front" arrived just in time.

lionheart72661 7 years, 8 months ago

I live right across from the stadium on 19th street and love the new stadium. Yes the lights shine in during football, and I get to sit in my yard and watch the game. My only problem is I can't see the score. LOL. Can you get a scoreboard that faces north please!! As a kid growing up I always wanted to live by a high school football stadium and now I do and love every minute of it. Centennial neighborhood quit your complaining and let the kids have fun. It is for them not you.

hawkstate 7 years, 8 months ago

The courts are open to the public so yes Sherlock....anyone could play. The school will have them reserved for practices and tournaments but after that they're open.

The lights at the old courts were on a timer and shut off at 9 or 10PM depending on the time of year. Currently the courts at KU and a couple others are the only ones with lights. Can't Lawrence have a tennis center with lights?

Stephen Roberts 7 years, 8 months ago

The courts have already built. The issue is the old courts had lights, the new courts do not. Maybe if USD497 and the city would stop passing the buck to each other this would get resolved.

beaujackson 7 years, 8 months ago

BEFORE the Centennial courts were ever built, USD 497 said they they were to be used ONLY by STUDENTS - during school hours, and they NEVER contemplated lights.

But then WHEN has 497 EVER kept their word?

Rich Noever 7 years, 8 months ago

Hey neighbors, you don't have enough juice. Lighting the courts is much more important than peace and quiet in the hood.

4getabouit 7 years, 8 months ago

Living by a school. Who could have possibly guessed that there would be kids playing games on the school grounds. I bet the yell and make noise and just upset everything. What is the world coming to. Put them out in the streets and let them steal hubcaps.

Terry Jacobsen 7 years, 8 months ago

You said that right. Gripe and moan, gripe and moan. After all the school district owned the property. They ought to be able to improve it if it benefits the kids and it does!

SpeedRacer 7 years, 8 months ago

I would love to have new tennis courts in my neighborhood. Ours (at Centennial Park) were never maintained and were finally turned into a skate park.

overthemoon 7 years, 8 months ago

Well, whatever happens, I'd like to see these courts named "Tommy Johnson Sr Tennis Center". Of all of the wonderful people I met playing on the old courts, Tommy was always the exemplary sportsman and gentleman. Even when he was wiping the courts with his opponents. A great musician, a great man, and a damned fine Tennis player.

sherlock 7 years, 8 months ago

ya know speedracer, imagine if you would stop and knock on doors of those houses 20-25 feet from the tennis court, probably could buy one just for yourself, and just think could just walk out your back door and be able to bat a ball back and forth in less then 3 min! Then when you didnt want to play could sit on youre back steps and yell to tell them how to play! Maybe they might even have some good music you could listen to! Then when baseball teams are practicing you could sit in youre yard and enjoy the boom box music that they play while it shakes youre windows, and you wouldnt even have to use youre electricty at night either, for the whole area is like Las Vegas at night during a game! What a savings, any takers from the loud mouths that seem to know it all? No I doubt that any of you who have no idea of the so called "fun" would purchase any of those houses so close you can "reach out and trouch" the court!!!! as for the poster who suggested eminent domain from the school-----let them offer, and you can bet the school would have takers! Probably so much so that it would strip their capital outlay fund so they would have to raise taxes again and again to cover the bankrupt fund!

hail2oldku 7 years, 8 months ago

Hey, that would be cool. I bet you could even meet spiderman if you hung out long enough.

I've actually made some offers on properties down there during the past year just to see if I'd get any takers. The only responses I received were for 115% or more of the county's appraised value. Doesn't sound like they're too concerned about getting out of there, or maybe they are hoping the school district or city will exercise eminent domain.

svenway_park 7 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

BruceWayne 7 years, 8 months ago

the truth is they would get more understanding/sympathy if not for just that one individual. sad that he does not even own a home in the city so he had no voice.

kamikazen 7 years ago

What do you suggest? That only people with money should have voice? Is it democracy or plutocracy?

svenway_park 7 years, 8 months ago

I just respectfully suggest if one holds one self out as an architect, and if one does marketing in part by filling practice complaints against other architects, it might be appropriate for one to even have actual degree in.... architecture.

In the same vein, if one declares his back yard to be a nature preserve which is visited by Ravens, he might want to read a book about birds.

Glo 7 years, 8 months ago

swenway-park Once again you are off topic. Please contribute in a productive way or please don't comment.

beatrice 7 years, 8 months ago

Complaints about tennis courts? Where's the love?

get it ... tennis ... love ...

oh, nevermind.

svenway_park 7 years, 8 months ago

I just respectfully suggest if one holds one self out as an architect, and if one does marketing in part by filling practice complaints against other architects, it might be appropriate to have a degree in architecture. Pretty simple. Maybe the legislature should enact a law.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 2 months ago

"i have decided to leave the forum. goodbye. i am signing out. SVEN January 29, 2011"

BruceWayne 7 years, 2 months ago

Sven has the degree. He does not have a license. FACT.

svenway_park 7 years, 8 months ago

Glo: there is somebody in your household if not neighborhood who is about 1000 posts in front of you.

If you want to start arguing about what is "on-topic" the person who represents your neighborhood, I can find several thousands of posts to help clarify the issue.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.