If Councilman John Bender has his way, new tennis courts could be on the horizon for Canal Winchester.

If Councilman John Bender has his way, new tennis courts could be on the horizon for Canal Winchester.

Currently, tennis courts are included the village's capital improvement plan for 2009 but that doesn't mean they will stay there. Village finance director Nanisa Osborn said the capital improvement plan changes annually.

Council is expected to vote on the village's 2009 budget by the July 7 meeting so it can be submitted to the budget commissions in Franklin and Fairfield counties by July 20, Osborn said.

Bender expressed his dissatisfaction with the lack of tennis courts at last week's council meeting.

"It's remarkable this village doesn't have tennis courts," he said. "We've got a village of 6,500 people and no tennis courts."

Bender added that five tennis courts would make a nice addition to the village, not only as a recreational outlet for residents, but as way to add awareness and support for the Canal Winchester High School tennis teams.

"But six would be nice," said Councilwoman Leah Turner.

Five is an ideal number of tennis courts for competition play, said high school tennis coach Jason Moisey, who added, "Eight would be great."

The high school boys and girls tennis teams have eight players each. Without courts to play on in Canal Winchester, the teams are forced to practice at courts at Groveport High School, Moisey said.

"The whole thing that's hurting us a little bit is lack of exposure," Moisey said. "We've been able to grow little by little."

He said adding courts for the teams would create more support from the community.

"It's all about getting the kids into it," he said. "I know tennis courts are expensive."

Courts would run about $33,000 each, said Joe Steager, vice president of sports construction at Heiberger Paving Inc. The price includes striping, fences and nets but does not include lighting.

There are already two courts on high school grounds, but the cost to refurbish them would be nearly the same as building new ones, Steager said.

"Those courts would be expensive because they're just in bad shape," Steager said.

He estimated the total cost for five courts to be about $200,000.

Adding tennis courts, however, is not a new debate.

"We've been in the discussion phases to get tennis courts here at the high school," said student activities coordinator Kent Riggs. "I don't think there's anybody who would say we don't need them."

Riggs said he and Bender, the school's track and cross country coach, talked about a partnership between the school district and the village to share the cost of building courts last year but those discussions quickly took a back seat to more important topics.

"One of the problems we're running into is the money aspect from the school side," Riggs said. "Right now, we're just delayed because of the budget cuts."

ebrooks@thisweeknews.com