The City of Ripley and the Jackson County Board of Education plan to partner in the construction of four new tennis courts at Ripley City Park.
Ripley City Council and the Board of Education both have set funds aside for the project, which is estimated to cost around $400,000.
Ripley Mayor Carolyn Rader said the project will involve the construction of four new regulation-sized tennis courts. The current courts have been resurfaced again and again for years and are in a state of disrepair.
“It’s no good to keep putting good money into a bad thing,” Rader said.
The current skateboard park will be turned into a regulation-sized basketball court and the existing basketball court will be resurfaced. The skate park equipment will be stored and can be reinstalled if there is a demand for it; Rader said it has not been widely used in recent years.
“It seems like skateboarding has fallen by the wayside,” she said. “We can store that equipment and put it back if there is a demand for it.”
The land where the current courts are located is owned by the board of education. The city leases the property for $1 a year.
During a meeting last Thursday, the BOE agreed to set aside $175,000 for the project, contingent upon reviewing the specifications and architectural renderings of the proposed new courts.
“We’re setting this money aside but we’ll need to see what we’re spending it on,” Board Member Steve Chancey said. “Until we see a drawing or something, it’s like a pig in a poke.”
Chancey added he did not anticipate there would be any major problems with the project, however. Rader said the city is going through a similar process. The project has been put out for bidding. A pre-bid meeting is set for June 18, while the bid-opening is scheduled for June 25 at city hall.
Officials hope to begin construction in August and have the project completed by October.
Unfortunately, construction of the new courts will not be completed in time for the middle-school tennis season. However, Ripley Middle School assistant tennis coach Jenny Scholl said the team will figure out a way to get through their season. The inconvenience will be worth it for new courts, she said.
“We’ll try to have as many away matches as possible, and maybe we can work something out with Ravenswood for practices,” she said.
The project will be completed by the high school tennis season in spring.