Tennis fan lobs $8,000 toward ‘bubble’ purchase |

Tennis fan lobs $8,000 toward ‘bubble’ purchase

A Glenwood Springs tennis devotee and his wife are doing all they can to keep Battlement Mesa from bursting their bubble.

Ron and Kayli Offerle handed workers at the Glenwood Springs Community Center an $8,000 check for the center’s purchase of the Snowmass Club tennis bubble.

Ron brought a cashier’s check to the center March 26 after reading a story in the Post Independent about the possibility that the city could buy the bubble.

“I have a great interest in tennis and I’m a tennis player,” Ron Offerle said. “We’re not looking for any notoriety or anything … It’s really not that much money.”

He just wants Glenwood Springs to beat Battlement Mesa in scooping up the bargain bubble.

The Snowmass Club plans to replace the 8-year-old, $120,000 bubble with a permanent structure. So it has offered to sell the inflatable, two-court enclosure for $8,000. The year-round tennis court cover comes with heating and fan equipment, and is expected to last another 10 years.

Offerle figured the donation would give the Glenwood Springs Parks and Recreation Department the upper hand.

“I thought they could move faster and beat out Battlement Mesa,” Offerle said. “I think we need more tennis. I grew up in Grand Junction and I hope that someday our tennis program can rival theirs.”

“It’s certainly not a done deal, but his donation makes the decision easier,” Parks and Recreation director Dan Rodgerson said.

Rodgerson still needs to take the proposal to the city Planning and Zoning Commission, figure out the extra construction costs a bubble would require, calculate upgrade or repair costs for the bubble’s fans, heaters and electrical components and figure utility costs.

And while $8,000 will buy the bubble, Rodgerson said it will cost $4,500 to move it from Snowmass Village to Glenwood Springs.

Rodgerson hasn’t yet cashed Offerle’s check. He wants to be sure the bubble is approved first. But time is critical, he said.

“They need to take it down in two weeks,” he said.

The item is on City Council’s agenda for Thursday night. Rodgerson is recommending the city use its own money to buy the bubble and, if it can be used, then accept Offerle’s donation.

Tennis enthusiast and high school coach Kim Schlagel, 23, said the bubble would be a great amenity for the community.

“It would be really nice to be able to play tennis year-round,” she said. “I think there’s a lot of support for it.”

Schlagel moved to Glenwood Springs from Florida, where tennis is played outdoors year-round. An affordable facility that fosters indoor tennis would be good for adults and kids alike, she said.

“I just want to help the city to offer different activities for kids,” she said. “The Community Center – it’s part of the community, so it’s encouraging community tennis.”

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