The council chambers at University Park City Hall practically smelled like a park at Tuesday night’s meeting; the audience was full of moms, dads, and kids sporting tennis shoes with rackets in hand.
By the time the parks usage issue came up, many of the younger constituents were squirming in their seats. But the hoped-for resolution that drew them in off the courts was curbed yet again.
“The council does not have a document to give you for your consideration,” Mayor Dick Davis said to residents at the meeting. “We did not know that until 5 o’clock today — we thought we would have been able to work through it.”
At a pre-meeting work session, the council spent an hour rehashing each element of the debate that has impassioned city staff, council members, residents, and Park Advisory Committee members since its first mention in February. Between instructor fees and reservation rules, the seemingly simple issue is anything but.
Once again, tennis-specific problems held heavier weight. For the council, one top issue was how to approach cancellations of court reservations.
“I don’t think anybody can cancel a reservation 24 hours in advance with a sick child or something,” Councilwoman Dawn Moore said of the draft’s phrasing.
Another top issue was whether or not to extend the 1.5-hour cap on reservation times per person. By the end of the work session, the council leaned toward keeping the cap as it stood.
Minor details such as limiting the number of tennis balls a player can bring to the court were scratched. As for annual fees and damage deposit amounts for instructors, those numbers will not be set in stone until an ordinance is finalized.
“All of this is for the citizens,” Mayor Pro Tem Bob Clark said.
The council hopes, once again, to have an ironed-out document ready for a vote by the next council meeting. After apologizing to the residents for any disappointment, Mayor Davis dismissed those who had come especially for the issue and invited them to attend the next work session in two weeks.