Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Panel OKs $3M Alberta Tennis Complex

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Panel OKs $3M Alberta Tennis Complex

Article excerpt

TUSCALOOSA | A proposed $3 million, 26-court tennis complex for Jaycee Park in Alberta was approved by a City Council committee on Tuesday.

The vote by the council's Public Projects Committee sends a resolution to the full City Council next week that, if approved, will give Mayor Walt Maddox authority to finalize an agreement with the Tuscaloosa Tennis Association.

But this doesn't mean the project is a done deal. The association still needs to gain funding approval from the Tuscaloosa County Commission, from which $1 million will be needed.

Still, it's the furthest the Tuscaloosa Tennis Association has gotten with City Hall toward the construction of a dedicated tennis complex in the group's 20-plus years of existence.

"We're desperate for a spot," Emily Baker, who has served as treasurer of the association since it formed, said to the committee on Tuesday. "We do have a need -- a desperate need -- if we're going to try and continue to grow tennis in Tuscaloosa."

Baker said the association has made several attempts to gain City Council support for a dedicated tennis facility, but each time has been rebuffed. The last time, the association was told to increase tennis participation in Tuscaloosa County before asking again.

Now, Baker said the association's members are too numerous for the courts at area country clubs and public schools, where the group's members currently compete.

"We've outgrown the clubs and the few public facilities that we do have," Baker said. "We're to the point of spilling over. We've done about all we can do."

According to the plan approved Tuesday by the Public Projects Committee, the complex proposed for Jaycee Park would consist of 20 outdoor courts and six indoor courts -- the first indoor courts in the county's history, officials said.

The city government would foot $2 million of the overall $3 million. Maddox said the money, if approved, would come from a variety of sources, including lodging tax revenues, insurance proceeds and savings from a planned bond refinancing. …

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