Tennis courts

Gulfport gets new pickleball and tennis courts

Gulfport’s plan for the new courts includes a total demolition of the existing courts, but pickleball and tennis players should have new courts by the end of the summer.
Patrick Graney

What do pickleball, water meters and tennis have in common?

Turns out COVID-19. This is how Gulfport gets upgrades for all three things.

At the Gulfport City Council meeting on April 5, council members voted to use funds from the federal government’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) – just over $6.1 million donated over two years (the city has already received the first of two payments) – the most recent COVID-19 relief package. The funds will go towards different public projects, including a citywide water meter upgrade and new tennis and pickleball courts.

Tennis and pickleball courts

The Council set aside federal funds to demolish and rebuild the Chase Park tennis/pickleball courts as separate tennis and pickleball courts. These funds allow the City to create more space for both sports. When complete, Chase Park will have two new tennis courts and two free-standing pickleball courts. In addition, the courts will be better lit.

“There’s going to be LED lighting, brand new lighting, fencing…everything is being demonstrated and then replaced,” said public works director Tom Nicholls.

Adding dedicated pickleball courts means something has to go, so the City will remove the road around the fire pit behind Scout Hall, although the fire pit will remain. Nicholls hopes this will preserve the number of parking spaces in the park.

Pickleball fans and tennis fans should have a dedicated space by Labor Day.

“This project will be global. We are going to destroy everything and rebuild,” Nicholls said. “We plan to start at the beginning of the month, and it will take about four months to complete. With this new construction, the courts should last at least 10 years,” he added.

Water meters

Water meters may not sound as exciting as new tennis courts, but ARPA money means Gulfport can get better technology and less labor-intensive meters without touching its plate. tax.

New water meters from Neptune Technology Group and water meter boxes and accessories from Core and Main are selling for an estimated price of $800,000.

The new meters will simplify billing and tracking water use, allowing workers to record more accurate figures.

“About 20 percent of Gulfport already has these meters, ‘but it’s still drive-through technology,'” Nicholls says, which means utility workers still have to drive by the house to read the meter. the new system, the meter will upload the water consumption to the cloud every five minutes.

The upgrade will take 18 to 24 months, but in the end, utility customers could get an app to help them monitor their water usage.

“Our long-term goal is to allow residents to view their water usage from their smartphones,” City Manager Jim O’Reilly said.

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