FAIRBORN — Good things are said to come to those who wait. And after weather and funding delays, good things have definitely happened to the Fairborn Community Park tennis courts.
Area tennis players have been enjoying the brand-new courts since this past Spring, and they’ve been well received.
“The new Fairborn tennis courts are great!” said Fairborn Tennis League director Terry Miller. “They were done very well and professional. They are now the best courts around the area. They are very level and drain well and the ball really bites into the court and get a great bounce.”
Miller said the green courts with blue background remind him of the ATP Tennis Center Courts in Mason.
Four inches of athletic asphalt have been paved onto the existing site, located just west of Fairborn High School in the southeast corner of Community Park. Each of the courts have new nets, and brand-new vinyl fencing now surrounds the courts.
According to Alicia Eckhart, Superintendent of the Fairborn Parks & Recreation Division, the court renovation was initially thought to be part of a development and construction grant provided by the United States Tennis Association.
“I pursued a USTA grant, and I was going to add a fifth court with the money. But they required us to change the entire grading of the existing courts’ surface. And that was going to require an entire overhaul of the courts, which put the project to around $175,000, and they were not going to fund that much. They were just going to require that much.”
That idea fell through when the USTA said they would not fund the entire cost of the renovation. So Eckhart said she went back to the city’s original plan of using funds from the Park Capital Plan, money that comes from the area’s hotel/motel tax, to pay for the project.
“We went back to our original plan, and stepped it up a little bit. I got a really good construction company that does a lot of the collegiate courts in Central Ohio and around the state — Heiberger Paving. They’re very good at what they do,” Eckhart said.
The paving was delayed by the USTA negotiations, and then the weather reared its soggy head and put things a bit further behind. Making enough road surface asphalt for Spring repairs gets a priority over athletic asphalt, and so the project became further delayed until enough athletic asphalt could be made available.
Originally scheduled to be completed in the Fall, the courts were finally surfaced and ready for action this past Spring.
“The courts are really beautiful,” Eckhart said. “We retained the original fence posts, because they were in fine shape, we pulled down the old fence screen and changed to an upgraded black vinyl fence, and that will last 10 years longer than the other. We should be set for a while,” Eckhart said. “That’s four inches of brand-new asphalt out there. We’ll look at crack sealing in about five years or so, but we should have no problems for quite a while.”
Eckhardt said the cost of the resurfacing project came in under budget — and definitely cheaper than the USTA option — with a $75,000 price tag.
The City of Fairborn looks to do a similar resurfacing on the Fairfield Park tennis courts in 2018.