On the tennis courts: Take the money

Recently, the Sweet Home Economic Development Group offered Sweet Home School District 55 a wad of cash to remove the high school tennis courts.

SHEDG wants the district to get rid of the courts, which are, by any estimate, in poor shape. It’s willing to pay $100,000 to get it done.

Really, what’s not to like about that offer?

Before the local tennis aficionados start writing and calling, allow us to hasten to add that we aren’t saying the high school should get out of the tennis business. We understand that people do play on those courts and that high school physical education classes use them. We’re aware that some high school students have voiced interest in re-establishing tennis as a school sport.

So we’re not saying tennis should be removed from the high school. We’re only saying that it should be moved and here’s an opportunity to do it.

The problems with the tennis courts are clearly evident to anyone who takes a walk out there. The surfaces are cracked and uneven. The equipment has seen better days. Given today’s litigious atmosphere, it might behoove the district to hang signs proclaiming that you play at your own risk on those courts.

We know people do because we’ve seen plenty out there.

That means that if those tennis courts are removed, the district should find a new location for them. With the growing popularity of soccer and softball, there are a lot of possibilities for using the area occupied by those courts for other purposes.

District officials have said there’s no money and no plan to fix the courts, which really need to be rebuilt from the ground up. They’ve said that new courts would likely cost around $200,000, though that number could be reduced with donations.

When SHEDG originally approached the board nine months ago with a lesser offer to remove the courts, the board talked about forming a committee to weigh the tennis issues. Apparently, they didn’t get far, as they once again determined to put a committee together in response to the latest offer.

The bottom line is that the courts are shot and they’re an accident waiting to happen. Sure, people can play tennis on them, but it won’t be pretty if someone gets hurt.

Sooner or later, the district will be forced to shut them down, one way or another.

We’re not saying Sweet Home doesn’t need tennis courts. What we’re saying is that it doesn’t need those tennis courts and it has a viable and generous offer to do something about the problem.

The school board should take SHEDG’s offer and do something positive with it.