• 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

  • Light shines bright on annual Midnight Sun Baseball Game

    by Dave Leval on Jun 23, 6:44

    Eager fans celebrate as they enter Growden Park in Fairbanks. Others wait to enter the historic stadium on an atypical game night. It’s the Midnight Sun Game, the 112th edition. That draws plenty of first-time fans to the ballpark, including, South Dakota’s Jason Roberts. “I heard it’s the place to be! Why not take in a […]

  • News

    Alaskan senators react to health care bill

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jun 23, 6:28

    Alaska’s senators have yet to take a stand on the health care bill saying they need more time to read through it. Senator Lisa Murkowski released a statement saying, “I remain committed to ensuring that all Alaskans have access to affordable, quality health care and will vet this bill through that lens.” One thing Murkowski […]

  • Two of three Mat-Su Senators now in the minority

    by Liz Raines on Jun 22, 21:11

    In an unexpected move Thursday evening, Rep. Shelley Hughes (R-Palmer) voted against a compromise budget bill put forward by the operating budget conference committee. Voting for the budget is a requirement for remaining in the Republican-led Majority caucus. Hughes now becomes the second Matsu Senator this year to leave the Majority. In April, Sen. Mike […]

  • Lifestyle

    3 key things to know about the Senate health care bill

    by CBS News on Jun 22, 18:36

    The Senate’s health insurance bill is finally available for scrutiny. While Washington watchers analyze its chances for passage, let’s take a look at the consequences for consumers. Here’s what you should keep an eye on as the bill moves forward toward inevitable tweaks and an expected vote next week. Subsidies. The Senate bill has edged […]

  • News

    UA system takes $8M cut in proposed agreement

    by Bonney Bowman on Jun 22, 17:46

    The University of Alaska Board of Regents is moving forward after the legislature announced a funding agreement for the university system. The House and Senate agreed to a $317 million budget for the university and the regents voted to approve it. It’s a cut of $8 million, less than the regents asked for, but also […]

  • News

    Investigators probing if Trump campaign got info from Russian hacks

    by CBS News on Jun 22, 17:04

    CBS News has confirmed that congressional investigators are interested in whether Trump campaign associates obtained information from hacked voter databases. A source indicated it is still early on in the process of scrutinizing the issue, but the House Intelligence Committee is said to be scrutinizing relevant documents to see if there is a connection. TIME […]

  • EggFest, Strawberry Festival, Quidditch this weekend

    by KTVA Web Staff on Jun 22, 16:39

    Pyrah’s Pioneer Peak Farm Strawberry Festival When: June 23 and 24 Location: Pyrah’s Pioneer Peak Farm 4350 Bodenburg Loop, Palmer Price: $7 to $25 Houston Music Festival When: June 23 through 25, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Location: Zero Lake Road, Houston Price: $10 to $90 GPS Scavenger Hunt When: June 23, 2:30 p.m. to […]

  • News

    ASD teachers likely keeping positions

    by Steffi Lee on Jun 22, 16:16

    New developments out of Juneau are leading to optimism among Anchorage School District officials. A conference committee agreed on a budget to fully fund K-12 education and it could mean the 220 teachers from the district who were given layoff notices will likely get to keep their jobs. Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop says it’s good […]