Saturday, April 2, 2016

Majority of Council Favors Clay Tennis Courts

Fairhope, Alabama

Stimpson Field


After a lengthy discussion at the last work session, the city council voted 3-2 (unofficial, straw poll) in favor of all of the new courts at Stimpson Field be clay (rubico, hydro-courts) vs. all asphalt or a combination of the two.

The contract may be formally approved as early as the next council meeting; the proposed new courts are to be built south of the clubhouse.

Council members Brewer, Mueller and Burrell favored the clay because that is the preference of the local tennis community (FTA) -- and Boone and Ford the asphalt, because of additional maintenance and security costs for clay: the new courts will need to be locked at night to prevent vandalism/damage from skateboards, bicycles, etc.

The softer courts are more comfortable to play on and balls move more slowly, ideal for senior citizens.

Most of the maintenance needs are supposed to be handled when a new tennis professional is hired ($40K annually), who has knowledge of clay court maintenance.

Plans are to charge a nominal per/hour fee for court use to offset costs.

Hydrocourts (clk) are self-watering but probably will need to be brushed and re-lined regularly;  also, new clay (rubico) added every few years.

Mayor Kant said his main concern is to build whichever gets the most local use, not so much for attracting tennis tournaments, some of which require at least 12 of the same surfaces (ie. state high school finals).

American Asphalt Inc. of Magnolia Springs was the low bidder at $409,897 -- about $110K more than budgeted this year for new courts; but the difference will be made up by unexpected savings elsewhere on other city projects.

All Star Tennis, Inc. of Covington, La. (clk) is their subcontractor which specializes in tennis courts.

State law somewhat ambiguously requires selecting the "lowest responsive, responsible" bid.

The city's engineering consultant, Jade Engineering, qualified the low bidder in this case.

Typical hydrocourt drawing:

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