After being unavailable so far this spring, the tennis courts at Porter Park will be ready for play by the end of this month, according to John Millar, director of Rexburg’s Public Works Department.
City councilman Jerry Merrill said the city started resurfacing the courts so they could be ready this summer. Merrill said the city has completed all but painting lines and hanging nets.
Merrill said the city decided to resurface the courts in order to better serve BYU-Idaho students and members of the community.
Pedro Echevarria, a sophomore studying Spanish education, said he and his family will enjoy using the courts.
“We happen to live right across the street from Porter Park, and it’s a great place that we enjoy,” Echevarria said. “We can’t wait for the new tennis courts.”
Millar said the courts would have been finished earlier had weather conditions been better.
The tennis courts costs about $55,000 to resurface, with an additional $1,000 per year for maintenance, according to the city council.
The courts were resurfaced not without debate, however.
In May 2014, city council members and community residents deliberated between resurfacing the courts and replacing them with sand volleyball courts, according to the Rexburg City Council minutes.
Some of the support for installing sand volleyball courts at Porter Park came from by BYU-I students, Merrill said.
“BYU-I students would absolutely enjoy having sand volleyball courts,” said Victor Slawinski, a junior studying healthcare administration.
Parks and Recreation Director Greg McInnes said volleyball courts would be a nice replacement.
“Smith Park tennis courts are used for the junior high and the community,” McInnes said. “Since the courts at Porter Park are not being used for tennis, a volleyball court is a better option for students here at BYU-I. A sand volleyball court would be appreciated there, instead.”
Christopher J. Mann, a member of the Rexburg City Council, said he opposed the decision to put in sand volleyball courts..
“It is close to the university, but I’m against taking out the courts,” Mann said. “The tennis courts are a nice addition to Porter Park.”
Merrill said now that the courts are resurfaced, there will be a bigger interest in tennis at Porter Park.
“The reason they didn’t get much use before they were resurfaced was because of the crack,” Merrill said. “If they were in better condition, people would definitely use them more.”
The city council will continue to look for places to install sand volleyball courts too, Merrill said.
“There may be other opportunities among the parks if we can find a suitable spot,” Merrill said.
Such spots include Rexburg Rapids or any of the city parks, including Smith Park and Porter Park, Merrill said.
Greg Carron, a freshman studying psychology, said that sand volleyball courts would be a good option in the future.
“I would support any city council movement to create sand volleyball courts here in Rexburg,” Carron said. “And I think most students would too.”