Opinion piece in Daily Camera and Parks budgeting more for courts

The end of summer has provided the Boulder tennis community with a flurry of breaking news, including a guest opinion on the state of tennis in the Daily Camera, information about funding changes for our public tennis courts, some long-overdue resurfacing on key Boulder courts,  the suspension of pickleball play on two NBRC courts, and three BTA teams that made Districts. That’s a lot to cover, so we’re breaking it up into two newsletters. Here’s the first volley.

Guest opinion in the Daily Camera

Working together, members of the BTA Board and the BOCO Pickleball Club wrote and published an opinion piece on the state of public tennis/pickleball courts in Boulder in the September 2 Daily Camera. The piece highlighted the now familiar issues facing the tennis and pickleball communities, including the lack of any new tennis courts in over two decades, the dearth of dedicated pickleball courts, and the problems of  the “multiple use” court concept. It also highlighted the high-stakes threat posed by the closing of RMTC and the CU South courts. Finally, it contrasted the number and quality of courts and facilities in Boulder with much better courts and facilities in comparable Colorado communities like Longmont, Arvada, Littleton, Parker, Grand Junction, Steamboat Springs, etc.

Left out of the article (through a mix up between BTA and the Camera) was key contact information for the racquet sports community. As a public service, here it is below…

So read the opinion piece, and then contact the person/organization of your choice to make your voice heard!

BTA voices heard as Boulder Parks and Recreation (BPR) increases budget for public courts

Sometimes it’s easy for the tennis community to feel that all the energy we’ve put into taking online surveys, attending BPR open houses, writing to representatives, speaking at meetings, etc. has led to no tangible benefits. Not the case! Although we’d all like to see more action – and faster – we’re definitely getting results.

A few weeks before the above article was printed, Alison Rhodes, Director of Boulder Parks and Recreation, communicated to a couple of BTA Board members some budget commitments that BPR was making to public tennis and pickleball courts as a direct result of our advocacy. As follows…

  • This year, BPR tripled their annual spend on court maintenance. (They spent about $65k/year in the last ten years on court maintenance, this year they will spend close to $200k.)
  • In the next five years, their proposed Capital Improvement Program (CIP) invests $400k/year on court maintenance. This CIP has been approved by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB) and is on its way to review by the Planning Board and City Council.
  • BPR now calls out courts as a specific category of amenity for which to plan and invest.

In addition, Alison noted that Parks has launched a Court System Plan they intend to complete by end of the year. This plan will have three key outcomes:

  • It will help prioritize the capital investments on existing courts so that they are taking care of the courts that will most benefit the community.
  • It will identify opportunities where additional funding (from grants, partnerships and/or philanthropy) can support more courts. While mentioning that BPR does not have funding to build new courts, they want to be in a place where they can seek additional funding to build.
  • It will identify if/how BPR plays a role in any potential indoor court facility.

In finishing, she noted, “I know some are frustrated by our pace, but I find this progress and the potential ahead pretty exciting.” BTA thanks Alison Rhodes for providing these helpful updates, giving us all a more nuanced view of BPR’s funding and policy landscape.

See you on the courts!

The BTA Board

Photo of East Boulder Community Center tennis courts