The high school coaches and parents have been urging the city to improve the courts.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city's tennis courts were in serious disrepair and parents and coaches certainly took notice.
They began advocating the city to fix them. The high school teams practice and play on them and the coaches felt not only were the courts in poor condition but also posed a safety hazard.
So the city "accelerated" the capital plans to repair them. The administration knew it had to do something and had originally eyed repairs a few years from now but then moved it up to begin in the fall. Now there's only two more courts left to renovate.
"We knew that our tennis courts were going to need some attention so we built into our capital improvement plan resurfacing our tennis courts. It was a couple of years out," Mayor Linda Tyer said.
"But I've been hearing from parents ... the parents began to reach out to my office and advocate for tennis in this community so we accelerated these improvements to our tennis courts because we wanted to give our team the best experience. We wanted them to be proud of their tennis courts when they welcomed teams from outside of our community."
Athletic Director Jim Abel said not only were the courts resurfaced but new nets and posts were installed and the fencing around the courts were repaired.
"The support for these courts and these facilities not only reflect our commitment to our student-athletes, our local tennis teams but also reflect the commitment to our community. The courts represent an opportunity to promote and develop the sport's growth at a variety of levels. The game of tennis is a lifelong sport," Abel said.
Abel said the resurfacing came after several years of advocacy. Pittsfield High tennis coach Shane Sullivan said he hopes to see a resurgence in the sport's popularity and feels the new resurfacing makes a positive impression on teams traveling to play here.
"We bring in teams from out of the county to come to these courts and it is really awesome that we can be proud of showing off Pittsfield and that in these courts there is investment," Sullivan.
Parks and Open Space Manager Jim McGrath said in total $60,000 was spent on the work — averaging $10,000 per court. All four courts at Herberg were washed, cracks filled, leveled, coated, and new lines for both tennis and pickleball were added. Copeland Coating & Sports Surfaces of Nassau, N.Y., did the work and completed it in fall 2018. A total of six courts — four at Herberg and two are Reid — were done.
Tyer said tennis is a sport that people of all ages can enjoy. She said the newly refurbished courts help strengthen the outdoor recreational opportunities the city has to offer.
Athletic Director Jim Abel praised the city's efforts to strengthen the infrastructure for tennis in the city.
"One of the things I think a lot about, and one of the things I want to expand upon in our role as a municipal government, is how do we continue to grow and nurture all of our outdoor recreational activities? Our city and our county is a beautiful place to enjoy the outdoors and tennis is certainly a part of that experience," Tyer said.
McGrath said the park system is responsive to demand and it is because of citizens advocating for the facilities they want that moves projects along. He cited the renovations to Clapp Park that will begin this year and the earlier building of a skate park, both of which were driven by community groups seeking improvements.
"A lot of what happens, at least in my world, in the park's world, happens because of advocacy," McGrath said.
The PHS teams joined their coaches, the athletic director, and the mayor on Thursday to dedicate the new courts. The recognition had been in the works for a while but the weather hadn't cooperated — when one was finally planned, it was canceled because of rain.
So now while the high school season is wrapping up, the city officials still found a chance to recognize the work that was completed.
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