Another chance to weigh in for more and better courts

Master Plan Open House this Thursday

Photo of East Boulder Community Center tennis courts

Back in February, we, the BTA Board, asked you to help us advocate for more and better tennis courts in the Boulder area. You did so in a big way, by going online and sharing your views on a Boulder Parks and Recreation (BPR) survey. Then later in February, Gonzo Garcia, Boulder tennis trainer extraordinaire, and myself both participated in “Stakeholder” focus groups that BPR held, so that we could represent tennis interests among all the other special interest groups vying for BPR resources and funds.

And I’m here to tell you that all our efforts seem to be paying off! In April, BPR released a… well… update on the Master Plan Update. (They really need to work on their terminology.) And while it’ll never make anyone’s top-ten list of summer reads, it was clear from this document that the tennis community has made itself heard. (To view the document, use this link:

If you parse through the update document (especially in the “Outcomes” and “Summary” sections, pages 8 – 17), here’s what you’ll find…

  • Tennis and tennis courts got mentioned ten times, more than any other sport or activity, and that includes a lot of competing interests like biking, dog-walking, skateboarding, swimming, etc. Proving that we got on their radar.
  • Several passages in the update refer to “pent-up demand” for more tennis courts and the “rising popularity” of tennis and pickleball, indicating that BPR is aware this issue has been building for some time.
  • In a couple different sections, the update mentions the possibility of a new tennis and/or racquet sports facility with up to twelve courts, showing that they recognize the need for a more unified, organized approach to improving and updating racquet sport facilities.

This is all a good start. From surface cracks that have made it an actual safety risk to continue league play on the Tom Watson Park courts, to the missing (or under-maintained, disgusting) restroom facilities at many/most of our public courts, to the backed up scrum of players waiting their turn at some of our more popular courts, we’re making our issues known.

Of course, it’s one thing for the City and BPR to recognize the needs of our tennis community. It’s another entirely to convince them to allocate funds to get things done. And in this very tough public funding environment, it’s an uphill battle. So now it’s time for the next step…

Boulder Parks and Recreation is holding a Master Plan Update Open House meeting this Thursday, June 24, from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. at the Municipal Services Center, 5050 East Pearl Street, Boulder, CO, 80301. If you are interested in supporting efforts for more and better tennis facilities in the Boulder area, we need you there!

It’s unclear if BPR will merely be presenting information, or whether they will provide time for public feedback. (If we get any clarification on that I’ll let you know.) But whatever the case, if we fill this facility with members of the tennis-playing community, that’s another step toward making them aware of our ongoing commitment and focus. And for extra credit, wear your favorite tennis hat. I know, it sounds a little silly, but this will help our BTA leadership at the meeting get a headcount without having to quiz everyone in the room. If any of us get to speak, we can point out our numbers live at the meeting. If we don’t get a chance, then we will report the numbers to Parks and Rec leadership after the meeting. Either way, it’s a show of support.

So we hope you can show up and help keep the pressure on for more and better courts. See you there!

Parker Dodd
President of the BTA Board of Directors