(July 7, 2022) Tits own manager, Libby Gibson, questions whether restoring the island’s only public tennis courts is worth it, in the face of rising sea levels.
“We’ve had a lot of talk about the tennis courts,” Gibson said of the Jetties Beach tennis courts at last Wednesday’s Select Board meeting. “The tennis courts really need work, serious work. Are we really going to work seriously on something that will be underwater in several years? »
Located a short walk from the beach itself, the tennis courts are already flooded on a semi-regular basis, said parks and recreation manager Charlie Polachi. He noted that the parking lot next to the courts tends to flood in winter and the courts are in poor condition.
“These are not the newest courts,” he said. “They’ve been around for a while, they get a lot of environmental abuse, but they’re playable.” While they may still be playable, they are not repairable, he said.
In his efforts to find a company to resurface the courts, he found that resurfacing would not be practical, they are too far away and should be rebuilt, he added.
“Typically, asphalt courts have a lifespan of 15 years, by which time they’re usually replaced,” Polachi said. He believes the courts are at least 24 years old and have never been resurfaced, but there were crack repairs in 2015 and 2018.
“The overall age of short is one of the reasons why they should be replaced rather than resurfaced, in combination with the material used to fill and seal the cracks, it is difficult to grind for resurfacing.
He estimates that replacing the courts would cost $1.2 million, which raises concerns for Gibson. Polachi added that he had reviewed coastal resilience reports for planning purposes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s highest estimates suggest that between 2040 and 2060, tennis courts will be underwater. These same estimates suggest that the access roads leading to the courts could be flooded a decade or two before.
“Why would you invest money in an area you can’t get to?” asked Vince Murphy, the city’s coastal resilience coordinator. “And also, if you invest money in an area, you expect to get several decades of use out of it.”
Select a board member Brooke Mohr said the select committee will have to think on the existing alternatives. If not piers, where, she asked.
“As it feeds into big decisions about the impact of sea level rise and climate change, it definitely starts,” Mohr said.
In the meantime, Polachi is looking for a temporary solution. He hopes to cover the Jetties Beach courts with a plastic surface for the public to play on, saving time and eliminating the need to rebuild the courts.
The 2020 Parks and Recreation Master Plan recommended the construction of two tennis courts at Tom Nevers Park and additional courts at Jetties Beach.
Polachi said to bring to court the Delta Fields Nobadeer Farm Road is also a consideration.
New tennis courts are also planned for the pickleball and paddle tennis complex off Hinsdale Road, and limited public access to the new courts on school property off Backus Lane is likely once they will be built, said director of school facilities and grounds Diane O’Neil.
While the courts at Jetties Beach are unlikely to succumb to rising sea levels in the immediate future, the lack of suitable city properties for new tennis courts in the downtown core means that in the not too distant future, Nantucke residents will have to go to higher levels. ground to practice their service.