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LJWorld.com weblogs Lighting of the new tennis courts

New tennis courts on Greever Terrace

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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.

Comments

overthemoon 3 years, 2 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.

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commuter 3 years, 2 months ago

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

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petronius 3 years, 2 months ago

The Tennis Association should be unhappy with USD 497 and its administration and the Parks & Recreation board members that knew of and supported asking for so many variances with regard to setbacks of these tennis courts. Common sense would have easily suggested that with the acreage available the courts could have been located in a manner not so close to homes - and that a 75 ft. setback which is specifically recommended between residential properties and recreational fields would have been observed by the design team.

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petronius 3 years, 2 months ago

Bud & Kay Petit who wrote the recent letter to the editor need to understand that,

As I said in public at the meetiing the Tennis Courts as installed without lights do NOT literally 'meet the code requirements', they were rather approved by a group of variances to the recommended setbacks suggested in the Development Code.

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petronius 3 years, 2 months ago

Dr. Doll himself did not do this. It was the previous USD 497 School Board & USD 497 upper administration that steamrolled over the neighborhood with approval by the previous City Commission of unconscionable variances on setbacks, parking, and many other matters to the detriment of local property owners. 73 adjacent property owner's signed a formal complaint to the City Commission about these Special Use Permits (including the Tennis Courts built by USD) which have far too many variances, far too close to the property lines.

The tennis courts themselves do not conform to recommended setbacks mentioned above. Therefore, the lighting will never be able to conform to code recommended lighting levels.

USD administration did this with the previous School Board's approval, guess whom was involved?

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commuter 3 years, 2 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.

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