• 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

  • Crime

    Man charged with pulling down telephone pole

    by Associated Press on Oct 31, 15:51

    A Fairbanks man suspected of shearing off a telephone pole when his truck pulled down an overhead wire has been issued a reckless driving summons. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://bit.ly/1pb91pU) reports 58-year-old James Knopke on Sept. 12 was pulling a trailer behind a 7.5-ton military surplus vehicle, which had a 16-foot homemade boom attached to […]

  • News

    Federal agency releases Arctic drilling review

    by Associated Press on Oct 31, 14:21

    The federal agency overseeing offshore petroleum development has released a revised environmental review of drilling off Alaska’s northwest coast, and critics say it shows the risk is too great. Mike LeVine of Oceana says it’s the third time the government has tried to justify offering leases in the Chukchi Sea based on an unfair evaluation […]

  • Politics

    Campaign 2014: Byron Mallott

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 31, 13:30

    This week, KTVA is running a series of interviews with the main candidates for office. KTVA’s Rhonda McBride brings us interviews with the candidates for lieutenant governor, starting with Byron Mallott — who has worn a number of hats, from mayor of Juneau and Yakutat to director of the Permanent Fund Corporation. For Mallott, however, […]

  • News

    Virgin Galactic spaceship crashes in Calif.; 1 reported dead

    by CBS/AP on Oct 31, 12:28

    Last Updated Oct 31, 2014 4:18 PM EDT MOJAVE, Calif. – A Virgin Galactic space tourism rocket, the SpaceShipTwo, exploded and crashed Friday during a test flight, killing one person aboard and seriously injuring another, witnesses and officials said. Wreckage was spotted in Southern California’s Mojave Desert. The spacecraft was carrying a crew of two. The Kern […]

  • News

    Fatal crash closes Seward Highway near Girdwood

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 31, 11:37

    One person has died and another sustained serious injuries after a multiple-vehicle collision on the Seward Highway Friday, Alaska State Troopers say. The crash — which occurred just before 11 a.m. north of Girdwood near Mile 96 — closed traffic in both directions as first responders assisted the victims, said AST spokeswoman Megan Peters. Beth […]

  • News

    Former Guard member speaks out about her assault

    by Emily Carlson on Oct 31, 11:23

    A former Alaska National Guard member says it wasn’t what Guard leadership did, it’s what they didn’t do that nearly killed her after she was sexually assaulted. In the wake of the September report that revealed claims of misconduct and mistrust within the Guard, Spc. Melissa Jones is speaking out. It’s agonizing, she says, but […]

  • On-Air

    Frost project hides art throughout Anchorage parks

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 31, 11:10

    The dark woods can be a scary place, so some local artists are helping to brighten them up this season. You can see new art installations popping up throughout Anchorage, if you know where to look. Every few weeks throughout the winter a new piece will be hidden in a local park and Daybreak will […]

  • On-Air

    Meet Baby Girl, this week’s Daybreak Adopt-A-Pet

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 31, 9:29

    Meet Baby Girl, a spayed, domestic short-hair kitty. She is social and affectionate and will greet you with a purr. She is full of love — even offering little kitty kisses — and loves to be pet, nudging you gently to ask for more. Baby Girl is a senior kitty who has lived with both […]