• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 45s

Tennis court question delays Assembly action

By KTVA Alaska 11:26 AM November 6, 2013

Public comment on $10.5 million tennis facility earmark goes late into the night

ANCHORAGE—To build or not to build? That was the question before the Anchorage Assembly Tuesday night: Would it be nobler to use $10.5 million in state funds on new indoor tennis courts, or take arms against the slings and arrows of time and improve existing facilities?

The municipality received $37 million from the Alaska State Legislature for “Project 80s” in May; money meant to go toward improving sports facilities across town. Having already appropriated $26.5 million, Tuesday the Assembly was to decide where to spend the remaining money: on a new tennis facility or on further improvements.

A decision was never made, as public testimony—mostly, but far from unanimously, in favor of the tennis courts—continued past 10:30 p.m.

After first hearing public comment on a range of topics, from the long-debated taxicab overhaul to items Anchorage residents want the municipality to prioritize in Juneau, the question of the tennis court cash came up late in the evening.

Assembly member Bill Starr was ready with a resolution putting the new tennis courts on ice, and instead put the $10.5 million toward improvements at existing facilities.

“I wish it wasn’t a battle between tennis and hockey, but I think the idea is, we have to first take care of what we own … before we can move on to the next topic of something new,” he said. “New is nice to talk about and great to use, but I can’t afford the situation where our older buildings are so far gone that we can’t repair them.”

Starr’s resolution didn’t keep supporters from speaking out. Wearing stickers that read “Yes on Tennis,” dozens were able to speak before the Assembly, but many dozens more were left waiting.

Many supporters were members of the Alaska Tennis Association (ATA), which, along with Mayor Dan Sullivan, lobbied lawmakers in Juneau for the money for a new facility. Former ATA president and current board member Matt Hemry said the partnership the ATA developed to ask the Legislature for money directly, rather than borrow taxpayer money from the municipality, serves as “a model for how projects like this should be funded.”

“The intent of the Legislature is clear, that [a tennis facility] is what [the money] is to be used for,” Hemry said. “The Assembly has some leeway in approving that, but the way we view it is, we went through the work, we put together this proposal, this package, and the legislative intent was clear.”

Hemry said private donations and support from the national U.S. Tennis Association would sustain the facility down the road; a contention the president of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce disputes.Hemry said the $10.5 million for the facility doesn’t mean other programs are going unfunded.

“This is not money that is being directed away from other previous approved projects,” he said. “The lion’s share of this Project 80s money is still going to other projects such as hockey, and that’s not to pit tennis versus hockey and other needs. There’s enough for everybody here.”

By 10:30 pm, the Assembly had voted to continue taking public testimony. If the tennis court question is not resolved, they’ll take it up at their next meeting on Tuesday, November 19th.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Mild winter lowers number of moose, car collisions

    by Associated Press on Jul 31, 7:07

    Wildlife officials say the mild winter this year kept road visibility decent enough to save some moose and driver’s lives. The Peninsula Clarion reports (http://bit.ly/1UbyScq) that the Alaska Moose Federation tracked 167 moose-car collisions in the Kenai Peninsula’s highways this year, compared to 206 in the previous year. Alaska Department of Fish and Game wildlife […]

  • News

    Event honors those helping Anchorage youth

    by Eric Ruble on Jul 31, 0:22

    The Anchorage Collaborative Coalitions honored those who often go unrecognized in a ceremony at the Lakefront Hotel on Thursday. The celebration awarded individuals and organizations that have made an exceptional effort to help Anchorage’s youth. Recipients included the Boys and Girls Club of Alaska and United Way of Anchorage. One of the award recipients was […]

  • Sports

    Chugiak bucks Juneau to advance to Legion championship

    by KTVA Sports on Jul 30, 22:49

    Eight weeks after Chugiak beat South in the high school baseball state title game, the Mustangs are looking for yet another first place finish after beating Juneau 12-5 in the American Legion State Tournament on Thursday. The Mustangs were in trouble early after Juneau followed up a 1-run first inning with three runs in the fourth […]

  • News

    Anchorage in Transition: Bill Falsey talks domestic violence and sexual assault

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 30, 22:21

    With the election of Anchorage’s new mayor, Ethan Berkowitz, comes a new administration. All this week during the 6 p.m. Evening News, KTVA be interviewing newly appointed department heads about their plans for the future of Anchorage. Thursday, we were joined by Bill Falsey, the new municipal Attorney for Anchorage, who says his department has […]

  • News

    Kodiak boasts Alaska’s oldest standing building

    by Heather Hintze on Jul 30, 20:02

    High on a grassy knoll in Kodiak, a large white building with green trim sits, almost as if untouched by time. It’s the oldest building still standing in the state of Alaska. It was built by the Russian American Company in 1808, likely as a warehouse for furs, before being sold to the Alaska Commercial […]

  • News

    Anchorage teenagers hit the trails to make a difference

    by Makayla Clark on Jul 30, 20:01

    Over the past few weeks, teenagers involved with Youth Employment in Parks (YEP) have made an old trail in Kincaid Park more accessible. “The goal of the YEP program is to positively engage a new generation of diverse youth leaders with the environment and the Anchorage community through meaningful training, employment, and outdoor recreation,” their […]

  • Lifestyle

    Could boarding passes become a thing of the past?

    by Michael Casey / CBS News on Jul 30, 19:52

    Alaska Airlines is looking end one of the biggest headaches of travel, that frenzied search for the boarding pass. The airline is trialing a system in which customers can use fingerprints, instead of traditional boarding passes or government-issued IDs, to check bags, speed through security checkpoints and board a flight. “Our big picture dream is that […]

  • News

    Anchorage man arraigned for sexual assault at Mosquito Lake

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 30, 19:30

    An Anchorage man was arraigned on Thursday for a sexual assault near the University of Alaska Anchorage campus in April. Robert Gutierrez, 20, is charged with the April 8 rape of a woman who was not from Anchorage. She told campus police he offered her a place to stay for the night, but then “pushed […]