Taking action on a project that’s been in the works for about two years, the Ann Arbor park advisory commission has unanimously voted to approve a revised new location for tennis courts at Windemere Park, on the city’s northeast side. The final location approved by PAC was one put forward at a public meeting earlier this month.
Action by park commissioners came at their Jan. 28, 2014 meeting.
The new location for the tennis courts has been disputed among neighbors who live near Windemere Park, a nearly four-acre parcel north of Glazier Way between Green and Earhart roads. The tennis courts there have deteriorated, and the city has been looking at options for replacing them. Neighbors had originally advocated keeping the courts in the same location, but the soil there is unstable. Before the area was developed, the current location of the courts was a pond.
In 2012, city staff held two public meetings to seek input on options for locating the new courts. The option recommended by staff – to locate the courts to the east of the current location – was one that a majority of residents at a public meeting on Oct. 8, 2012 had favored. That location was ultimately recommended by PAC at its Oct. 16, 2012 meeting.
The cost of the project was estimated at around $100,000. Bids were expected to be solicited, with construction to take place in the summer of 2013.
However, some neighbors subsequently raised concerns about the option that was recommended by PAC – Option 4 of the four options that were considered. It had been a compromise proposal, moving the tennis courts closer to the center of the existing open space at the park, farther away from homes around the perimeter of the park, compared to other options.
Because of those concerns, staff held off on construction of the new tennis courts and have been talking with residents about other alternatives. Residents conducted an online Doodle poll comparing the option that was recommended by PAC to one of the other options – Option 1, located slightly further to the north – that had been rejected. Lobbying for Option 1 at a PAC meeting on Nov. 19, 2013 were several residents – including representatives of the Earhart Knolls and Glacier Highlands homeowners associations. Ward 2 Ann Arbor city councilmember Jane Lumm also attended that meeting and advocated for Option 1, on behalf of residents.
There was not universal agreement, however, so additional input was sought, including a survey on Ann Arbor Open City Hall. The parks staff also held another public meeting on Jan. 15, 2014, which was attended by about two dozen residents, several park advisory commissioners and some city councilmembers. At that meeting, yet another option – labeled Option 1A – was brought forward. It shifted the location in Option 1 slightly to the north and east, and changed the location of the path entering the courts. This was the site that PAC members ultimately voted to recommend.
This brief was filed from the second-floor council chambers at city hall at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]