Council OKs $40K for tennis bubble

But members balk at funding balance of $1.98 million renovation proposal

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The City Council agreed to spend $40,545 for architectural and engineering work on improvements to the city tennis bubble but balked at paying the $1.98 million necessary for a renovation, remodeling and expansion project proposed by the Tennis Facility Replacement Committee.

Nearly 50 people supporting the tennis bubble improvement project attended Tuesday's City Council meeting.

Committee member Randy Reed said the committee was looking for its marching orders from the council and for the council's support on the total project so it could continue fund-raising efforts.

"No one wants to give money to something you don't know is going to happen," he said.

Reed said the group decided a frame and fabric structure was the best option for replacing the 13-year-old tennis bubble that is literally falling apart piece by piece.

The committee also proposed renovating the facility's concrete and drainage system and remodeling the administration offices, locker rooms, reception area and restrooms.

Two new indoor courts, which would increase the number of indoor courts to six, also are being proposed.

The cost for the frame and fabric structure, which would have a 25-year life span, is estimated at $1.113 million.

Reed said the tennis committee has committed to raise one-sixth, or $330,709, of the project cost.

Close to half of that amount has been raised already. The Steamboat Tennis Association has donated $10,000, the developers of Wildhorse Meadows have pledged to donate $100,000, and individuals have contributed $25,000.

The city has budgeted $1 million for tennis center renovations in its 2005 capital improvement plan. That leaves about $670,000 unaccounted for -- and not in the city's budget.

"I feel until I know where the $1.67 million is going to come from, I am not going to say yes," council President Paul Strong said. "I would be comfortable with the $40,000 for architecture and engineering, but I would not be ready to go ahead and say 'Yes, build the whole thing.'"

Council members urged the committee to look at forming partnerships with other groups such as the lodging community or Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.

Councilman Ken Brenner asked whether the accommodation tax could be shared with the golf committee, which is using it to pay off the debt of Haymaker Golf Course.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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