Friday, March 27, 2009

Community Development Steering Committee Wants to See Alternate Budget for Memorial Park Upgrade

Tennis enthusiast and chairwoman of the Community Development Steering Committee, Billie Brown, wants to see an alternate budget proposal to the tennis court upgrade at Memorial Park. Proposed is a retrofitting of the courts that would include two basketball standards on one of the courts. Brown seemed to side with Manhattan Heights Neighborhood Association's Julie Rutledge who led a small group of people to the hearing in opposition to the multi-use proposal for the existing courts.

Two petitions have circulated. One supports the multi-use proposal and has 54 signatures. Another circulated by Rutledge has "30 or 40" signatures in her words and runs 2 - 1 opposed to the multi-use facility. That would still mean that most signers want the retrofit to include the basketball standards as proposed by Parks and Recreation.

Neighbor concerns included a bias that basketball players use profane language. (Of course, tennis players don't.) They also fear that basketballs, like soccer balls, will damage nets and fencing. Parks and Rec's design of the court would enhance ball control and provide more privacy according to project manager, Rick Garcia.

As always, the historic card was played - these have always been tennis courts and should remain that way. Never mind the new aquatic center, remodeling of the library, loss of a rose garden and a cannon that has never been replaced since it went missing.

Will there be more recreational opportunities for El Pasoans who use Memorial Park? Neighbors argue that the interlocal agreement between El Paso and EPISD already allows for youth to use school facilities and there are basketball courts available after 5 p.m. at Crockett Elementary. Of course, not just kids play basketball and many adults make it part of their exercise regimen.

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