ERIN – The Erin Tennis Club will need council support if they want to fund their reconstruction efforts by Spring 2024.
Delegating to council recently, club president Andrew Salisbury asked that the town contribute $150,000 of $250,000 to cover long-term repairs for the club’s five tennis courts.
The club currently has over 460 linear feet of cracks and a 200 square-foot depression or “sinkhole” that has rendered court five unusable.
“It collects water and at this point now we've got cones around it to help prevent people from walking into it,” said Salisbury. “It's not a safety concern because nobody's playing there, but certainly it's a risk that people will eventually run into it and it's just not safe.”
Making do with the four remaining courts, the club created two pickleball courts on the far side of the depression as a way to continue utilizing the space while addressing community demand for the sport.
But with membership up 16 per cent from last year, the club is projecting to grow from 216 to 240 members in 2024 with as many as 325 by 2026 and feels a long-term plan for repairs is invaluable.
“It's simple to repair things. Cracks are relatively inexpensive to repair but they don't last,” said Salisbury. “So we feel we should come up with a solution that is a little long-term focused.”
While the group is short $20,000 of the $100,000 they need to contribute to repairs, Salisbury said that he’s confident the group can raise the money internally.
Originally built in 2000, there's been various work done to the courts over the years with the club spending $71,000 and $19,000 in 2015 and 2019 on minor repairs.
However, Coun. John Brennan was unsure how the municipality would finance their part of the project by next spring.
“Obviously if it's for next year, well that becomes part of the the budget process for 2024,” said Brennan. “(But) if we want to have the possibility of getting something going as soon as possible, then I think we need to get a report back from staff as to how we can possibly make that happen.”
According to town treasurer Wendy Parr, money for the club would exist in the town’s general reserve for parks and recreation.
The request from the club was referred to town staff, who will return a report to council with a recommendation.
Isabel Buckmaster is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for GuelphToday. LJI is a federally-funded program.