The city of Lawrence still wants to install lights at Lawrence High School’s new tennis center, and still has $100,000 set aside to get the job done.
But critical details about the lights themselves — how many, how tall, how bright and how long they’d be turned on, if at all — remain undetermined, as officials try to serve up a plan acceptable to those who live nearby.
“I’d like to get a plan that responds to the neighbors’ concerns,” said David Corliss, city manager. “We haven’t been able to do that yet.”
Neighbors have complained about noise, bad language, trash and trespassing attributable to public use of the eight courts, which opened in April behind the Lawrence Virtual School.
“Our neighbors are collecting tennis balls for their dogs,” said Jeanne Klein, a leader of the Centennial Neighborhood Association.
Scott Morgan, a member of the Lawrence school board, expressed frustration earlier this week with the city’s progress on lights. The district financed the construction of additional courts, installation of upsized electrical equipment and even placement of supports for poles, all to meet community needs.
The city agreed to put in lights, Morgan said, and they should go up.
“I understand concerns have been raised,” he said. “I think those are surmountable, and I respect those concerns, but we certainly have been through the ringer … and I fear that if we don’t do something, the city will just let it go away because we all have other things to do.”
Mark Hecker, an assistant director of parks and recreation, said that officials continued to review options for sizing, placement and operations of lights.
“We have scenarios,” Hecker said. “None of them are ideal. If we had an ideal scenario, we would be done by now.”
Corliss said he had no specific timeline for making a recommendation to Lawrence city commissioners, who would make the final decision about lights.