Six Elworthy Field tennis courts to be resurfaced this year

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published February 20, 2024

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CITY — Some of the tennis courts at Elworthy Field in Grosse Pointe City will be getting some needed work this year.

Of the 10 courts at Elworthy, courts five through 10 will undergo power-washing and resurfacing this spring or summer.

The Grosse Pointe City Council voted unanimously in favor of the project Jan. 29. Because the City has a shared-use agreement for the courts with the Grosse Pointe Public School System, the cost of the work — $92,800 — is split evenly by both entities, meaning that the City’s share is $46,400. The Board of Education already approved a bid from Pontiac-based Goddard Coatings Co. for the work.

Goddard was the higher of two bids for the court resurfacing, but City Public Services Director Peter Randazzo said the school system selected Goddard because the low bidder — Grandville, Michigan-based River Town Painting Co., which offered a bid of $79,500 — had never done tennis courts before.

City officials said $50,000 was budgeted in the capital projects fund for this work.

Some officials asked whether pickleball lines could be added to any of these courts, given the growing popularity of the sport.

“There’s a lot of people that play pickleball in our community,” City Councilman Seth Krupp said.

Krupp said he felt that adding pickleball lines to some Elworthy Field courts would increase their usage.

However, city officials said this change wasn’t possible because of their agreement with the school district.

“It’s not our decision,” Mayor Sheila Tomkowiak explained. She said there are restrictions on what can be done to these courts.

“We have asked in the past if we could (add pickleball court) lines and the school (system) said no,” said Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Christopher Hardenbrook, who formerly served as the City’s parks and recreation director.

Hardenbrook said school officials explained that the addition of these lines would make the courts ineligible for tennis tournament use.

In addition, Randazzo said pickleball courts in other communities have been the subject of complaints because of noise. Elworthy Field is close to residential housing.

Parks and Recreation Coordinator Rebecca Jenzen said the company that recently restriped their platform tennis courts at Neff Park was able to add pickleball lines to them, meaning that City residents now have a place to play pickleball.

“We’re making them dual play,” Jenzen said in late January, before the striping happened in early February.

Platform tennis is played in the winter while pickleball is played during the warmer months, so their seasons don’t conflict.

It wasn’t known at press time exactly when the Elworthy court resurfacing would take place, but City officials say they’re trying to time it so it doesn’t interrupt usage during a peak period.

“We want to make sure when this work does get done, it doesn’t interfere with our season,” Randazzo said.

The GPPSS uses the courts until about mid-May and the City uses the courts starting in June, he said.  Randazzo said the project is expected to take about two weeks to complete. Goddard Coatings Co. said they should be mostly done by July 31, 2024.