Ross Gold Park in Carson City will see a refurbished tennis court as well as a new clubhouse thanks to funds from Centennial Park.
Originally there were discussions about whether funds for the dilapidated tennis courts should come from the clubhouse fund, but supervisors determined that the park should have both.
Unfortunately, the initial estimates of the amount of rehabilitation and reconstruction of the courts and the pavilion are exceeded due to inflation.
“Construction costs are skyrocketing right now,” said Jennifer Budge, director of parks and recreation. “This is the third attempt to advance the tennis court project.”
Ross Gold Park is one of the oldest parks in the city and with that has aging infrastructure that needs to be addressed.
Budge said Parks and Recreation worked with the public, held workshops, gathered feedback and partnered with community groups such as the tennis community to update the master plan.
“The final reimagining of the park and master plan was presented in 2019; it has not been brought to this council because we are expecting issues with the land and water conservation fund,” Budge said.
Budge added that Parks and Recreation had outstanding issues with land and water conservation fund deed restrictions due to easements granted in the 1960s.
“That being said, the tennis community has been very vocal,” Budge said. “We hear about them every week, and not just the same two people; it’s dozens of people who really want playable land in the community.
The Ross Gold Park Pavilion was removed in 2019 and Budge said the structure was very important to the community as it was a first-come, first-served pavilion that hosted birthday parties, reunions and was Very used.
“It was dangerous, so we took it down immediately,” Budge said. “We fully intend to replace this shelter, and I think there are several ways to do that.”
The avenues include several grants the park is eligible for, Budge said.
“There are other options for using the clubhouse in Carson City. There aren’t a lot of options for the tennis courts. People tell us they have to go to Douglas County to play” , she said. “The Ross Gold Park could be an immediate solution.”
Supervisor Stan Jones said he thought Ross Gold Park should be fully completed, rather than done “piecemeal”. He said he would like funds to be taken from the Centennial Park Fund and given to Ross Gold, so that the park can have both the pavilion and the tennis courts erected.
“I think we’re getting closer to completing Ross Gold Park,” echoed Mayor Lori Bagwell.
“There is no doubt that there are strong voices advocating for tennis, and indeed we should have public tennis courts in town,” said supervisor Maurice White. “I don’t believe at this time, based on community feedback on what people want in this park, that now is the time to do two tennis courts at Ross Gold Park.”
White said the tennis community is asking for tennis courts at Centennial so they can host tournaments.
“I just want to point out that the idea that the tennis courts are the priority at Ross Gold Park just can’t be substantiated when you look at the survey for the master plan,” White said.
White said that in the community survey, 71% of participants said they wanted the pavilion returned. 69.9% said they wanted to install more picnic tables. However, 77% said they did not think the number of tennis courts should be increased.
“People are more interested in picnics than tennis in this park,” White said. “The point is, obviously, the priority at Ross Gold Park should be picnic shelters.”
Mayor Bagwell pointed out that the survey asked whether or not the courts should be expanded, not whether or not they should be repaired.
“I don’t want the board to forget that these are all investments the city has made in the past,” supervisor Stacey Giomi said of the citywide tennis courts. “Letting them continue to deteriorate without addressing some of them seems negligent to me. Let’s get Ross Gold up to snuff, then we can tackle Centennial.
Budge said that while completing the tennis courts and the new pavilion would be a big step towards completing the park, it would not mean the park itself would be completed immediately.
“There are still things we need to do with the pond, with the turf – we have plans for turf reduction, we have other improvements that we will be looking for grants for,” Budge said.
“I think it’s important that we honor our commitments when we can as well,” Bagwell said. “I understand both sides of this discussion, but I’m definitely in favour.”
Bagwell also said that this tennis community has paid for tennis court maintenance for years through an association, which has raised money for nets, maintenance, etc., all of which have been donated. at the courts. Bagwell said there is currently about $15,000 raised by the association sitting in a fund waiting to go to the courts once they are rehabilitated.
Budge said the association also fully funded the geotechnical investigation at Centennial Park, which is needed to advance the construction of the Centennial Park Courts.
“They’re all in agreement, they want to have these courts,” Budge said.
All public comments submitted were in favor of rehabilitating the tennis court.
Supervisor Lisa Schuette said the council really needs to make the Centennial Park courts — which will cost about $1.7 million — a priority at future meetings because it will help Carson City’s culture and tourism.
“There is such a benefit to a community when there are different recreational opportunities, so I would really like to see us prioritize tennis courts in future discussions and budgeting,” she said.
Instead of using the pavilion funding for the tennis courts, the board voted unanimously to transfer money from the Centennial Park fund to support both the tennis courts as well as the reconstruction of the pavilion at Ross Gold Park.