Way back on Sept. 10, 2012, the issue of refurbishing the outdoor tennis courts at Tomahawk Park in Broken Bow first came before the City Council. Eight months later, the issue was finally revisited - and this time it was resolved.
In that initial Council discussion, Park Superintendent Dan Anderson presented a recommendation on behalf of the city’s Park Board to refurbish two of the tennis courts and convert the third court from tennis to basketball. The bid that was quoted at that time was $23,700, which included replacing the lights as well.
In that September meeting, Councilman Bill Adams stated he would like to hear more input from the public on the matter before the Council takes it to a vote. The Council decided to table the discussion, and revisited the issue at the May 14 meeting.
This time several members of the public voiced their opinions on the outdoor tennis courts. One of them was Mike Hunsber-ger, who was on the Park Board at the time of the initial recommendation. Hunsberger did most of the legwork as far as acquiring estimates for the work and comparing different options.
Hunsberger says he was never in favor of converting one of the courts to basketball and has all along wanted to maintain the three tennis courts. He says the current condition of the courts makes them nearly unusable.
“These courts are right next to the new wellness center, and it just doesn’t look good,” said Hunsberger.
Anderson told the council it has likely been more than 15 years since anything has been done with the courts.
It also came to the Council’s attention that there are some local mens and womens groups who currently play on the indoor court, but only because the outdoor courts are in such bad shape.
Kathy Tierney is one of those avid tennis players, and has been for many years. She says she would love to see some programs for tennis enthusiasts, or just those wanting to learn to play, get started here in Broken Bow.
“I am very disappointed that the only park area in town that has not been maintained is the outdoor tennis courts,” said Tierney.
She says she currently travels to Cozad to play league tennis, and is somewhat embarrassed that an event like that cannot be hosted in her town. Tierney spoke passionately about the importance of getting these outdoor courts playable once again.
“To lose this would be a loss to Broken Bow,” she said.
While the members of the public who voiced an opinion all spoke in favor of keeping all three courts for tennis, Anderson explained that the driving force behind the Park Board’s discussion to convert one court to basketball is that this would be the only lighted court in town.
Councilman Cody Schmick, who lives near Tomahawk Park, noted that the outdoor basketball court there is always busy. The council members agreed that having a lighted basketball court would be an asset to the community and would undoubtedly see lots of use.
As far as the issue with the tennis courts, Anderson was clear to the Council.
“At some point you’re going to have to do something,” he said.
The Council asked Anderson to obtain a quote on what it would cost to add lighting to the outdoor basketball court at Tomahawk Park, and present that at the next meeting.
The Council then unanimously approved the bid of $23,700, to refurbish the three tennis courts and the half-court practice court. The project will entail resurfacing the courts, filling in the holes and painting. A date for completing the project has not been set.
The Broken Bow City Council meets the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays at noon.