Groups state case for Marshall courts

The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee has been asked to support development of covered pickleball and tennis courts at Marshall Field

It’s not known if taxpayers will rally behind proposed sports facilities.

The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee has been asked to support development of covered pickleball and tennis courts at Marshall Field.

Juliette Cunningham, GVAC chairperson, says the request will be considered, but it may be too late to include it in the 2016 budget.

“Is it realistic, I am not sure,” she said.

The proposal won’t be discussed further by GVAC until its next meeting in early January.

While the two sports groups have not identified an exact dollar figure from GVAC, the 12 pickleball courts and four tennis courts could cost up to $2.2 million.

“I hope they will put funds towards it,” said Don Friesen, with the Greater Vernon Pickleball Committee, adding that other sources of revenue are through fundraising and membership fees.

“We totally expect to pay our way and be responsible.”

There are currently about 300 pickleball players and rental facilities at four different indoor sites are at capacity.

“We have people showing up an hour ahead to get a spot,” said Friesen.

“We’re turning people away all of the time.”

The Greater Vernon Tennis Association has 110 members and a desire to expand participation.

“The next step we need to get moving is junior tennis,” said Loren Guenette, with the GVTA.

The goal, according to both groups, is to create a facility that can handle tournaments and bolster the economy.

“If you want to buy a home, individuals look for amenities. If you are a retiree, you look for pickleball or tennis,” said Guenette.

A GVAC director asked if Civic Arena would be suitable for the sports, but Friesen believes there are some logistical issues with the aging structure.

“I’d love to use Civic but the cost would go through the roof. There’s maintenance, repair and it’s not going to heat itself. It would cost to operate,” he said.

 

Vernon Morning Star

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