Friday, April 28, 2006

History and Tennis

It seems we struck a nerve with our last posting about a tennis facility. We were reminded that tennis was not mentioned in the 1/2 cent sales tax ballot language, and the "“official"” city brochures didn't mention tennis, just sports facilities. There may have been ads, posters, files on web sites and even comments at public meetings and debates about a new tennis facility, but that was all done by a separate group called Citizens FOR San Angelo, not the city government.

This is all true. Still, there are people that feel the city promised to build a tennis facility. The following is a little, admittedly incomplete time line I have thrown together of some of the points of interest on the recent history of tennis in San Angelo. Much of the material I would like to have is no longer easily available or on the web. If there is a need or interest, additional materials will be hand added but I think these snapshots hit the high points and show the direction (or lack there of) tennis facilities were going.

In the Council Minutes of Sept. 16th 1997 The Council approved use of city leased land on Glenna for the CVTA to build a tennis Facility. For some reason, this project fell through.

It was reported in a news Story on July 16th 2003 The CVTA did an initial introduction of a plan for public tennis facility, asking city council to help secure a grant. The council seemed to be concerned that running the facility would require additional city personnel. They asked them to come back later after study which they apparently did according to a news Story on Sept. 18th 2003 where we have a report on the City Council passing a resolution in support of a public tennis facility which was by this time a joint project of the city, CVTA, and SAISD.

Just prior to the sales tax being put on the ballot, the Council Minutes of March 2004 describe the report of a consultant on the state of San Angelo's sports facilities. A number of shortcomings were noted and the consultant gave 3 options for improving our sports facilities. Option 2 was used by Citizens FOR San Angelo to promote the Sales tax. Option 2 was only a recommendation but it did seem to shape much of the debate from this time on.

At the July 6, 2004 city council meeting the sales tax was put on the ballot. Council was asked by a member of the public to keep tennis at the forefront.

At the January 18 2005 council meeting, the use of city owned property adjacent to the Heights Baptist Church as a tennis facility was discussed and rejected because of concerns over pollution as the site was formerly a landfill. It seems clear from the discussions that a new facility based on a partnership with the school system was what was being sought.

On Feb 1 2005 the council did a review of options for using the ½ cent sales tax for improving sports facilities. The consultants option 2 recommendation appears to be the basis of the discussion, and it is noted that changes in tournament complex eliminated the need for the proposed Southern Little League expenditures. It seems the option 2 proposal is the starting point for the planning, including tennis facilities.

At the March 1 2005 council meeting, Council Member Rainey was added to the committee exploring a joint tennis project with SAISD and CVTA. At the same meeting CVTA announced they had a $10,000 grant from USTA to help build a facility.

In a guest editorial on Sept. 5th 2005 Ms. Maddux reported on the progress towards the tennis facility. She seems to be under the impression that the $674,000 allocated from the sales tax for tennis is for a new facility.

At a COSADC on Sept. 14th 2005 there was a presentation by CVTA on plans for a new tennis facility with a pro shop. COSADC Acknowledges $674,000 of "voter approved sales tax money" for tennis. It was stated that the city council needed to see the plan and determine the direction.

In a Letter to Editor on September 20th 2005 Patsy Rainwater Maddux summarizes her feelings on the results of the half cent sales tax. She is concerned about the control that SAISD might have over a joint facility.

At the council meeting on Sept. 20th 2005 a very detailed presentation on sites and proposals on working with SAISD was given by Council Member Rainey, with lots of public discussion in the minutes. The tension is very evident.

At a COSADC meeting on Sept. 28th 2005 the discussion noted that the committee was to determine a location for a "“new tennis facility".

Things were not going smoothly. According to a news story on Oct. 5th 2005 Patsy Rainwater Maddux resigned from the Recreation Advisory Board over disagreements on the direction the tennis facility is taking. This was discussed in an Editorial on Oct. 11th, 2005 that gave the papers opinion on the forced resignation of Ms. Maddux.

The meeting of the Rec Adv Board on Nov. 9th, 2005 showed that the "tennis task force"” was still functioning. There was discussion of involving tennis pros in the search for a location for the new facility.

At the Rec Adv Board meeting Jan. 11th 2006 there was discussion of how the location of a site for the "“tennis center" was narrowed down and how ASU was now interested in using its courts which are across from Glenn junior high to help with the project.

That's the story so far. Based on the history, what will the future of tennis in San Angelo be? My crystal ball crashed trying to find the answer, so we will have to wait and see.

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