Updated: 06/20/2014 6:24 PM
Created: 06/20/2014 5:19 PM WDIO.com
By: Briggs LeSavage
Duluth East junior Michael Chelseth is working to help fund a project that would put a tennis court in Duluth’s Lakeside neighborhood.
City Councilor Emily Larson said the Washington Square Mini-Master Plan was passed in late 2012 and would put a tennis court and short disc golf course in the park located on Superior Street and 43rd Avenue East.
After the City Council passed the project in 2012, funding was not available. Since early 2014, Chelseth has been working to fundraise and find community support for putting a tennis court in a neighborhood he says is experiencing a void.
“I think there are a lot of people in this neighborhood who could be interested,” Chelseth said. “We just have to get the word out, and that’s what we're trying to do right now is let people know that this actually exists.”
Chelseth estimated the project could cost anywhere between $75,000-$100,000. He said he plans to go to Monday’s city council meeting to ask for funding and community support.
“The city doesn’t directly support this with their funds right now, and it's really hard for me to start and say ‘I need $100,000 to build this tennis court here,’” Chelseth said. “That’s a lot of money, and it's really hard without the support of the city.”
Larson said while she is excited about Chelseth’s enthusiasm about the court, the council has a limited fund to support parks projects.
“At the council level, there were some questions about the degree to which there was a need for greater tennis courts there,” Larson said. “Part of what we've encouraged Michael about is that it’s going to take community investment to get some of those projects implemented, and the tennis court is a great example of that.”
Chelseth took the council’s advice and is now asking the community for support as well. He plans to hold a public informational meeting at noon Sunday at Mount Royal Fine Foods in Duluth.
“I wanted something that was more easily accessible, and we don't have any tennis courts down here in the Lakeside-Lester Park neighborhood,” Chelseth said. “I thought that would be something that would be really cool.”
The City of Duluth is also working on another tennis project. Longview Tennis Club’s six courts are scheduled to be resurfaced in early August and Duluth Friends of Tennis board member Meghan Kimber said it’s not a moment too soon.
“I've been on (the courts) and balls are hitting the cracks frequently, so it’s going to be kind of interesting for our tournaments to see if anybody verbalizes how bad they are or just kind of rolls with it,” Kimber said.
Kimber said the city is paying for most of the resurfacing project that she said is projected to cost around $60,000.
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