LJWorld.com weblogs Lighting of the new tennis courts

New tennis courts on Greever Terrace


After attending the public meeting last week about the lighting of the new tennis courts, I would like to comment. Let me clarify upfront, I live in the Centennial Neighborhood and have for over 30 years. The presenter from Parks and Rec stated that the courts are moving just one block south, but we have a "new set of neighbors". This means to me that he perceives the neighbors as the problem. I would like to point out the physical differences of the two sites.

  • The courts at their previous location (on 21st Street) had a larger setback from houses adjacent to the courts. A large swall of mature plantings divided the houses and the courts.
  • 21st Street is a major street; Greever is a small residential street that already services Centennial Virtual School, baseball parking and high school parking as well as the tennis court parking.
  • The courts on 21st Street had restroom facilities. Porta potties are planned for the Greever site.
  • The previous site had a drinking fountain; none on the new site.
  • On the Greever site, a large 6' retaining wall seperates the elevated courts and the yard of the neighbor. Nothing seperates the yard of the neighbor on the south side of the courts (although fencing and landscaping has been promised since the start of the project.) Foot traffic as well a bike traffic is frequent on the small open area on the west side of the courts and visual and physical access of the yards is easy. Drainage was an issue and we are told that has finally been corrected. The first spring rain will answer that question. Bleachers for spectators, by the way, are at the end of the courts, not on the side where one would generally like to watch a tennis match.
  • When the courts were located on 21st Street , it was the only lighted facility. People in the neighborhood now deal with lights from the stadium, soccer field, softball field and baseball field. Parks and Recreation officials admit that the new tennis court lights would far exceed the restriction standards for lighting in a residential area, but say that recreational facilities do not have that restriction.
  • On another note, the facility is being touted as "public courts"; The Lawrence Tennis Association (LTA) said at the public meeting they will be using them for league play 4 nights a week. They also have a Saturday league and instructional leagues, as well a tournaments. I know the LTA generates money from it's activities, but do not know if they pay the city for use of the facilities.

Why is the city so willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a facility that was so poorly designed and constructed and will really not meet their needs until further improvements are made? Several alternatives sites with willing providers were suggested at the meeting.


Stephen Roberts 7 years, 3 months ago

From what I saw at the meeting, the people who play tennis were trying to help reduce the amount of disruption. The neighbors were just saying no. To me, this is an issue of equity between East & West. If the CNA, doesn't want lights on thos ecourts fine, improve Freestate and make it better. Make the courts at Freestate the best nso no one will want to play at LHS. Fin I am ok with that. Since the CNA doesn't want equity, maybe the LP&C should stop supporting their facilites on the East side and focus more on the West side.

When I was looking to buy a house in Lawrence, I loved the lighted courts at LHS but the realtor started to discuss the CNA & that is the main reason I didn't buy a house there. We have enough government intrusion, why would anyone voluntarily sign up for more by buying a house with a neighborhood association. These people have too much time on their hands.

Oh well, I need to get back to shoveling my sidewalks.

overthemoon 7 years, 3 months ago

Efforts by the CNA have led to the correction of one of worst drainage situations in the city, forcing LHS to follow building code and ordinances to contain water runoff from their property, and now the tennis court issues. (I think the opposition to the Tennis courts is misdirected and a year or two late...) This is what neighborhoods can do for themselves when the government does not follow its own rules.

I lived in the neighborhood for ten years...great people, great location, reasonably sized houses and properties. That Realtor was out of line and uninformed...and probably sold you a property on which he/she could get a better commission.

bigpicture 7 years, 3 months ago

This statement betrays fundamental misunderstanding regarding the role of neighborhood associations. Neighborhood associations are the essential backbone of a stable and well-maintained neighborhood. Property values are better maintained as a result. Individuals are safer and better connected to their community. Positive change is easier to affect. When making such a large investment of money and years, homebuyers would be wise to choose neighborhoods with an existing association.

Stephen Roberts 7 years, 3 months ago

Sven, if you repeat something over and over again, does it make it a fact???

overthemoon 7 years, 3 months ago

Sometimes the facts need to be repeated til someone listens. It seems to work when our politicians and news sources repeat lies, too bad it doesn't work with simple truth.

overthemoon 7 years, 3 months ago

All that money for football fields to accommodate every possible need...and the tennis courts were planned with no water or restrooms. How the heck can LHS Tennis or the various tennis organizations host tournaments on a par with the trend setting Blue Valley and Topeka teams? A portapotty solution is simply insulting. The lack of lights shows that the planners have no idea what and who they were building this for.

The extreme lack of realistic planning and implementation here is absolutely unacceptable. I suggest it be torn out and done correctly...or sadly, the Lawrence Tennis center should be moved to Free State...after their terrible courts are rebuilt and expanded.

bigpicture 7 years, 3 months ago

Ditto overthemoon. Simply put the neighbors , AND tennis players, taxpayers all, deserve better.

The facilities built by the USD were not made with an eye to future needs. They were poorly planned and designed, and a colossal waste of financial resources. And they are still not "done".

I wonder about the structural integrity of the new courts. Heavy concrete slab supported by drainage tubing several feet in diameter and an a narrow retaining wall? How much time before the cracks start to show up and the slab is no longer level?

It's a shame is what is all is.

overthemoon 7 years, 3 months ago

This is what gives credence to the anti-tax anti-government people. I for one do not mind paying taxes and I think that government should be the people doing together what will benefit all. However, I get as mad a tea-partier when the government takes a worthwhile investment and makes a total hash of it.

grimpeur 7 years, 3 months ago

If a private enterprise acted like our stadium-dazzled school board did, with no thought of anything except making sure the stadium was built and ignoring the details large and small, removing public facilities and replacing them with poorly-planned, inferior, short-term and stopgap measures, said enterprise would be just as deserving of ridicule.

But your point is taken. "Mad," of course, has a different meaning in reference to teabaggers.

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