Wednesday, September 11, 2013/lk
With fresh coats of bright blue and white paint, the newly remodeled city tennis courts are all but complete, and anyone who frequented the old courts is going to notice a dramatic difference when they step onto the $132,000 “Premier Court” surface.
Although landscaping and final touches around the outside are yet to be completed, courts are open to the public starting today.
Workers have been busy the last couple of weeks with the most distinctive element of the $260,000 renovation project: a new and entirely different court surface. Made of a composite material and acrylic coating, the new surface feels relatively soft and forgiving underfoot; a contrast to the cracking asphalt surface that it replaced. After patching cracks and leveling the old court — and fixing drainage issues around the court that caused chronic problems in the first place — workers painted on thick layers of the new surface and finished with a color scheme of dark green edges, bright blue courts and white boundary lines.
A crew from the Eugene-based Home Court Construction finished painting boundary lines Monday afternoon and installed posts and nets Tuesday, just in time for the start of a three-week middle school and high school tennis camp that runs weekdays from 3:30-4:45 p.m. (to 5:30 p.m. Thursdays). Other than those times, the courts will be free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.
An improved lighting setup means improved after-dark visibility, as the old lights were relocated to the outside of the courts facing in and new ones were added between the three courts.
Hood River Tennis Court Committee, which was responsible for raising the funds for the project, chose the Premier Court surface in part because it is backed by a 25-year crack-free warrantee and is boasted as a playing surface that will stand up to the region’s wet weather and the heavy use of a public court. It is also softer and more forgiving than asphalt, so is particularly friendly for players with joint or injury issues.
A community event to celebrate the reopening of the May Street facility — officially named the Tsuruta Tennis Courts — is planned for Sept. 21, from 9 a.m. to noon. Community work days will run 9 a.m. Sept. 14 to help with bench building and installation and Sept. 19-21 starting at 9 a.m. each day to work on some planting and spreading bark. Volunteers for Sept. 19-21 are asked to bring buckets and shovels if possible.
Hood River’s Boy Scout Troop 386 and the Hood River Valley High School tennis teams are also working on building and installing benches and beautifying the tennis viewing area outside the court fencing.