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$14 million tennis complex could be city/school partnership in Edmond

EDMOND — The city of Edmond and Edmond Public Schools are working on plans for a multimillion dollar state-of-the-art tennis complex.

The capital improvement projects advisory board this week recommended the city buy 23 acres near 15th Street and Kelly Avenue for a center that would feature up to 10 indoor courts and as many as 24 outdoor courts.

Advisory board members recommended spending $1.5 million from two capital improvement sales tax funds for land northeast of the intersection priced at $2.5 million.

Half the money would come from a special sales tax voters approved in 2000 for capital improvements. Another $750,000 would be taken from money left over from the public safety center project.

Voters on Oct. 11, 2011, approved a half-cent sales tax for five years to pay for the $37 million public safety center. Any leftover money was designated to be spent on capital improvements.

The public safety center fund has $1.8 million left after the center was constructed, a parking lot built behind city hall and the hospital trust fund was repaid for money borrowed upfront to start construction on the center. That balance includes subtracting $750,000 for the purchase of the land for the tennis project, Assistant City Manager Steve Commons said.

The half-cent public safety center tax ends in April. Voters, on April 5, approved extending the half-cent tax for 10 years for capital improvements. That tax starts in April 2017.

"The $1.5 million from these two capital improvement sales tax funds would be matched with $1 million from our real property fund," Commons said.

City council members are scheduled to make a final decision next month on spending the money and the purchase of the $2.5 million property.

City council members have not signed an agreement with the school board for the partnership.

A citizen task force recommended a tennis complex on its list of capital improvements that the city should fund with the extended half-cent sales tax. This is the first project from the recommendations to move forward.

The proposed city and school tennis complex would be developed and operated similar to the competition pool at the Mitch Park YMCA, Commons said.

The city and the school would split the cost of the $14 million complex, which would have a central clubhouse with locker rooms, a pro shop and food services.

Brett Towne, Edmond school superintendent, said the 2015 bond election included $6 million for tennis facilities for Edmond North High School and Edmond Memorial High School, and school officials anticipate adding $1 million in the 2017 school bond election for tennis facilities for Edmond Santa Fe High School.

Christina Hoehn, chief operations officer for the school district, said the design process could take up to nine months and the entire project could last two years.

A 10-member team, five from the city and five from the school district, has been created to consider the project.

"The first step in moving forward is the land acquisition," Commons said.

Diana Baldwin

Diana Baldwin has been an Oklahoma journalist since 1976. She covered the Oklahoma City bombing and covered the downfall of Oklahoma City police forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist misidentifying evidence. She wrote the original stories about the... Read more ›