Many Tennis Courts Around County Are In Bad Shape PDF Print E-mail
News - Local News
Thursday, 08 February 2018 14:29
There are 15 public tennis courts in Chattooga County and many of them are in bad shape.
All five courts at the City of Summerville's recreation center on Highway 100 are cracking. The cracks are so bad at the Trion Recreation Center on Dalton Street that weeds grew in them. These cracks, however, do not surprise either municipality.
When Summerville resurfaced theirs in 2012, former City Manager Russell Thompson said repairs would last 5-10 years. Trion did not get a guarantee when its four courts reopened in June 2010.
"I asked the guy what kind of guarantee he would give us. He said he wouldn't give me a week," Recreation Director Nolan Crisp said.
Although it sounds shocking that a company would not guarantee its work, Crisp said it makes sense once you realize what is underneath the courts.
"There are drainage tiles underneath it," he said.
Moisture from the drainage system creates an unstable ground that expands and contracts with the changing weather.
"How are the tennis courts?" Summerville Councilman Zach Martin asked during a recent city council meeting.
"Terrible. They are in bad shape," Recreation Director Bo Chamlee said.
"They need redoing," City Manager Tony Carroll said.
"We just have to come in one day and just bulldoze them down and start over again because you are just patching over them. Within three years it's back this way again," Chamlee said.
Summerville's courts were so bad in 2011 that the high school tennis team couldn't use them. They did not play one game at home that season. The city resurfaced three of its five courts in 2012. But the city also knew it was a temporary fix that would give them 5-10 years of playing time.
Now six years later the cracks have returned. Chattooga High School Tennis Coach Stephanie Ratliff praised the city for general conditions of the facilities like the lights and bathrooms. However, she was concerned about the playing surface.
"The ball bouncing is frustrating, but the tripping hazard is my biggest concern," Coach Ratliff said.
As tennis players run around the court, they have to make sudden stops and go. With some of the cracks larger than a quarter, a player could injure an ankle.
"It is a great facility, except the surface," Coach Ratliff said.
Summerville's problem is with moisture and the foundation. When the courts were originally installed 30-plus years ago, not enough chert and base material was installed. The loose dirt caused the courts to crack, according to officials.
"It probably needs to be dug down two or three feet and packed down to be done right," the city manager said.
"They ran into the same problem up here at the new restaurant {Jack's} they are building. I think they dug down about eight foot and filled it back in," Public Works Director Terry Tinney said.
"Under the tennis courts it is like powder," Chamlee said. "It's just terrible."
"There isn't another location for putting them?" Mayor Harry Harvey asked.
"Yeah. Is that the place to put them really? Earth wise is it not a good place?" Councilman Joe Money said.
The city is currently updating budget and starting to think ahead about its upcoming budget that starts in July. One of the projects might be resurfacing the tennis courts.
"I would like to do that in the upcoming budget if we have the funds," the city manager said.
Trion will eventually resurface theirs again, Crisp said. 
"We don't have as many participating in tennis as we once did," Crisp said.
While the town's courts are in foul shape, the Trion City School System has six new courts it built a few years ago. The school's courts are in good shape, according to school officials.
With the school adding its own tennis courts, the town might downsize its facility. 
"I would like to keep three [tennis courts] and put a batting cage on the other one. That is my next project if and when. There are no firm plans," Crisp said.

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