Groveport City Council members have volleyed back and forth over a proposal to build new tennis courts, and now the score is all even -- or deuce.
An ordinance to build five new tennis courts at Groveport Park, at the request of Councilwoman Jean Ann Hilbert, is expected to receive its first reading during council's March 12 meeting.
The new ordinance follows a 3-3 vote Feb. 26 on a proposal to construct two additional tennis courts in Degenhart Park at a cost exceeding $293,000 with lights and more than $210,000 without lights.
An additional $30,000 would have been needed to move a sewer line.
Mayor Lance Westcamp, who usually casts tie-breaking votes, abstained because he owns property next to Degenhart Park, 355 Lesleh Ave.
"We're providing this for our community," said Hilbert, an avid tennis player. "Two courts are a lot cheaper than five, and I thought for sure we could get this through. But it's the old NIMBY -- not in my backyard."
Hilbert, council Vice President Scott Lockett and Councilman Marvin Stevens supported the ordinance to build two additional courts, but council President Shawn Cleary and council members Ed Dildine and Becky Huston voted against it.
Cleary said more courts at Degenhart Park would overwhelm a park that was built for recreation. He also noted other options.
"(Groveport Madison) High School is more than willing to work with us and let its new courts be used by the community," he said. "It will be hard to justify building five new courts; it's going to be a lot of money. Right now, we need to be strong on infrastructure."
Costs to build five new courts were estimated at more than $600,000 in 2010, according to City Administrator Marsha Hall. Some on council believe it would cost more than $800,000 today.
Dildine also pointed to the cost and Degenhart Park's location.
"To me, that's a neighborhood park," he said. "Those tennis courts were built for recreational play, not match play. It's a smaller park.
"I'm not saying it couldn't be expanded in the future, but the access isn't the greatest. Those courts are for fun."
Chris Brown, who leads the Groveport Tennis Academy at the Groveport Recreation Center, told council members that five courts would allow the group to play home matches in Groveport instead of traveling to Reynoldsburg High School.
The extra courts also would give pickleball players more opportunities to play, according to Groveport Parks and Recreation Director Kyle Lund.
He told council the number of pickleball players has grown from 42 to more than 660 since the city began offering the sport in 2015.
"We have the money to do these things," Hilbert said. "Let's just get it done and have all of our recreation taken care of."