A “Love-Able” Home

For a moderately sized community with a limited municipal budget, finding funds for development, facility renovations and program expansion is a struggle–something that Salisbury Parks and Recreation knows well. In recent years, citizen involvement and advocacy have played a crucial role in providing new recreational opportunities in the North Carolina community, including the development of a new state-of-the-art tennis complex.

First built in the late 1950s, the City Park Tennis Complex is situated on 41 acres of lush park land adjacent to a fully staffed recreation center and a 3-acre fishing lake. The department’s oldest park site, City Park has always experienced significant traffic from neighborhood residents participating in both passive and active recreation. Naturally, these residents–many of whom grew up in the surrounding neighborhood or use the park on a regular basis–support efforts for preservation and future development. The tennis complex, long due for replacement, had been placed on the back burner for more essential items on the city’s capital project list. Life-long resident, avid tennis player and Parks and Recreation Advisory Board member, Reid Leonard, began discussing with city council the need for new tennis courts on the existing site. Stressing the importance of no-cost recreational opportunities for area residents, new requirements for tournament play and the deteriorating condition of the existing facility, Leonard’s lobbying efforts eventually moved the tennis courts to the top of the city’s capital-project list in late 2007.

The Wish List

The $300,000 development process began in early 2008 under the direction of Stephen Brown, Parks and Recreation Maintenance Manager. Brown, a licensed and certified landscape architect, also completed the design of the proposed tennis complex. Under the scrutiny of a tight budget, the department began looking at ways to maximize project funds. Brown’s in-house design of the complex saved the department more than $30,000 in design fees. Maintenance staff also saved thousands of dollars by installing brick edging, backboards and intricate landscaping rather than contracting those services. Landscaping and benches were purchased through a donation from Salisbury Pediatric Associates in memory of Dr. Joseph Corpening, a community advocate for youth fitness and a lover of tennis, who played on the old tennis courts for decades. His family also dedicated a granite marker in his honor at the complex’s grand opening celebration in March 2009.

Sustainability, security and ease of use played a major role when considering the initial design of the complex. Tennis enthusiasts requested a court surface that provided good traction and also dried easily when exposed to natural elements, while staff members wanted wider courts and a surface that needed minimal upkeep and repair. The department eventually decided on a Plexipave surface, of medium coarseness, to provide superior traction and cushioning and a permeable surface to eliminate most moisture issues. The all-weather, brilliantly colored surface is known to resist sun damage, and provides outstanding playability for up to seven years between resurfacing–a significant feature when considering dwindling department funds.

Safe And Secure

In recent years, Salisbury, as with many other communities, has seen a rise in vandalism to court surfaces from motorized recreational vehicles, skateboards and hard-to-remove graffiti. It became clear early on that the complex would need multiple security measures to limit further damage. After much research and discussion, the department decided to install security fencing, lighting that functioned on an automated timer system and a security keycard system.

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