Monday, April 07, 2008

Tennis Courts Disappoint

The city installed a new surface over the old tennis courts at Lakeview Park. I had a chance to try out the courts the other day. Unfortunately, it was a major disappointment. It took all of twenty seconds to realize that the ball would often bounce in an unexpected manner, which is the same problem with the unmaintained, crack ridden courts of old.

The court technology is interesting and perhaps promising. It consists of interlocking porous plastic (or like material) squares which move slightly as you move. I suspect this may be easier on the legs and allow for quick drainage after a rain.

After deciding that the courts are inferior to a maintained asphalt surface, we tried a few experiments. We dropped a tennis ball on one of the lines from about three feet off the ground. The ball seldom bounced straight up and down and often bounced up to eight inches in any direction. Also, we discovered several dead spots where the ball hardly bounced at all. It appeared as though the underlying surface was uneven, so the court offered no resistance, thus, no bounce.

All in all, the courts are a major disappointment and are far inferior to asphalt courts properly maintained.

12 comments:

Caledonia Unplugged said...

Denis - asphalt tennis courts are impervious surfaces and not in adherence with a "green" agenda. Whether or not they are better for playing tennis is irrelevant.

Greg Helding said...

Denis-

I pushed for the use of this new surface prior to last year's budget hearings. My research showed that this surface was used to great effect is cities all over the country. It performs well and costs less than concrete of asphalt to install and maintain. It seemed like a way to get us more tennis courts for less money. It has nothing to do with green agendas. In fact, it still requires an impervious surface under it. Because it is porous, it does dry quicker after a rain. Again, an attempt to get a better surface and save some money - taxpayer money.

I visited the Lakeview court on Saturday. While I did not perform drop tests, I was not happy with some parts of the court. I will work with the Parks Dept. to get this resolved.

Meanwhile, I am sure you can play on one of the many taxpayer funded courts in Wind Point :-)

Denis Navratil said...

Hey Greg. While I appreciate the attempt to get a better surface for less money, it seems the attempt was unsuccessful. I think one problem is that the underlying court is not flat. Then the new surface is suspended above the old with a space in between. When the ball strikes the surface, the surface gives, there is little or no resistance, and therefor less of a bounce than one anticipates. That problem is correctable if the city resurfaces the courts. Of course, if they did that, they wouldn't need the new surface. I hope that there is some other answer to the problem. I thought the installation was just fine, though I didn't know quite what to look for. Thanks for taking an interest in the courts.

I knew it was a mistake to leave Wind Point:-)

Caledonia Unplugged said...

greg - what is the impervious surface underneath?

BTW, my comment was tongue-in-cheek, if you couldn't tell ;^)

Pariah Jeep said...

caledonia - I watched some of a recent Madison city council meeting and one of their complaints about a previously-approved, 100% compliant project: the parking lot didn't have the right "green space".

Anonymous said...

Two words

Disc Golf
and news there is a large marketing company ready to come on board to help make this happen.

Caledonia Unplugged said...

pariah - you sure you were in Madison and not at a Caledonia Planning Commission meeting? ;^)

Greg Helding said...

The impervious surface under the flex court material is either concrete or asphalt. When flex court is installed over an aging surface, cracks are filled, bumps are ground down, and low spots are built up.

I am told this was done at Lakeview. My guess is that the harsh winter (30 freeze/thaw cycles) messed with the court a little. Parks assures me they will look into this and correct the problems.

Anonymous said...

Greg - why not check into these 10 defective police cameras that cost us $5 grand each instead of a tennis court? This out of control chief has plans to buy 5 more.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:11

Cameras are a great idea. We need to completely cover the high crime areas of this city.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:15 - they are a good idea *if* the cameras actually work! Who would be foolish enough to announce that the cameras don't work like Wahlen did?

I would much rather see Racine take Milwaukee's new Chief's approach and go out into these neighborhoods and take the bull by the horns instead of hiding behind a TV/camera that doesn't even work! All of Milwaukee's "troublemakers" are coming to Racine because they know its a safe haven.

sports surfaces ireland said...

the old original surface should have been completely taken up before laying new surface...