DANVILLE — Receiving $500,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Danville Tennis Center, its officials say.
They added that if something isn’t done soon to improve the outside courts, the courts won’t be around for future generations.
The council heard from Martha Foster, 73, a lifetime Danville Tennis Center member who has played tennis at the club since 1960. She said it initially cost 25 cents a month to play at Lincoln Park. She said tennis brings her de ella love and joy.
The council also heard from others about the need for the city to get and keep youth and adults active, and the tennis center being important in many people’s lives.
Discussions about ARPA funds continued at Tuesday night’s city council meeting.
The council is expected to vote on an ARPA spending plan at its May 17 meeting.
Many members of the public have never used the Danville Tennis Center tennis courts or have never been to the center, said longtime alderman Mike Puhr. He added he, just recently for the first time, stepped inside the center’s building. I always thought it was a private club.
The center is open to the public. There are membership fees, but the public can play there, too.
Tennis Pro Adam Huls said they see about six to eight guest fees paid a month. Some may play a few times to test out the facility. Someone doesn’t have to be with a member to play.
There are 197 current Danville Tennis Center memberships and 325 active members. They hope to expand those numbers.
They also hope to have more camps.
Several aldermen visited the center in the last few days to see the roof leaks, cracks in the outside tennis courts, HVAC and other needs.
Ward 3 Alderwoman Sharon Pickering said her visit made her feel better about giving money to the tennis center which is operated on city-owned property.
The council heard from Huls, Laurie Sermersheim, president of the Danville Tennis Center and secretary Lisa Behrens. There are four indoor tennis courts and two indoor pickleball courts for year-round play, and six outdoor tennis courts at the center.
The center has seen some court asphalt resurfacing, painting, lighting and other improvements through the years since it was formed as a non-profit in 1947.
Annual membership fees for pickleball to tennis for individuals to families range from about $75 to $350.
Under a current city lease, the public can use the tennis courts six times a year without a membership.
The public is very welcome, Sermersheim said, adding that they want everyone to play.
The Danville Tennis Center also partners with Danville School District 118, AMBUCS and others for youth play.
Sermersheim said the improvements will be for safety, allow for more tournaments which will bring more money into the community and offer more opportunities for additional local organization involvement.
The lowest quotes they’ve gotten for most of the improvements, except lighting and resurfacing was about $420,000.
Ward 2 Alderwoman Carolyn Wands suggested a more public-friendly entrance area.
In other ARPA proposed funding changes, the city now has a fire department ladder truck added with a new fire engine at a total cost of $2.2 million increased from $800,000; and $80,000 to the David S. Palmer Arena and $20,000 to the Danville Area Convention and Visitors’ Bureau for lost hotel/motel revenue the last few years; meaning a $1.5 million reduction in the $1.99 million for bridge preservation and maintenance to $490,000.
Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. said the city will rely on the infrastructure bill and other possible funding sources for bridge repairs.
Williams said more than half of the comments received on ARPA funds from the public have supported youth development, quality of life and physical health uses.
Three Kings of Peace’s Frank McCullough said he doesn’t agree with the ARPA funding plan. No funding is allocated for the group’s proposed mentoring center. Youth activity groups can apply for a funding allocation.
In other public comments, the council heard from several people asking the city to reconsider allowing campers on driveways and looking at individual cases.
The council also: reappointed City Clerk Lisa Monson to the Police Pension Board; approved a resolution regarding audience comments at city meetings; approved additional auditing costs for city utility billing, purchasing new police vehicles and a new city texting service for residents; and approved a memorandum of understanding with the Danville Police Command Officers Association regarding health insurance.