Fair trade: theater parking for tennis courts | PostIndependent.com

Fair trade: theater parking for tennis courts

Glenwood Springs tennis players closed out a set last week, winning the city planning commission’s tentative recommendation of approval to build four new courts at the Community Center.

With only three public tennis courts now open in a city of 8,000 people, it’s high time for more courts.

And tennis players did a good job of presenting their need through letters and comments to city officials.

But the new courts come at the expense of future parking for the theater, for which a contingent of residents desperately lobbied for during the planning process for the Community Center.

The center was designed so a theater and pool could be added on later. But the theater, expected to cost more than $5 million, was shelved for lack of funding.

The need for tennis courts is more immediate. An astute city planner pointed out that the tennis courts would be built where additional Community Center parking was planned when the theater is eventually built.

In time to influence the planning commission’s decision, the five-member executive committee of Friends of the Theater wrote a letter explaining that they would prefer to have the theater built in Glenwood’s redeveloped confluence area rather than at the Community Center.

The five signers said they “polled the majority of members by telephone” to reach this conclusion. The city’s approval of the tennis courts hinges on proof that the change of location truly reflects the preferences of the community’s theater advocates.

That proof is not yet evident, and the planning commission was wise to hold off until it is.

This change of uses at the Community Center is not a setback for the performing arts in Glenwood Springs.

It concentrates recreational sports activities at the Community Center, and theater supporters can dream just as easily about a new facility downtown. Ultimately it would be a very attractive addition to the downtown and confluence area.

In the meantime, performing arts advocates could focus their efforts on far less costly improvements to the Glenwood Springs High School auditorium. New stage curtains would be first on the list, followed by further acoustical refinements and reconditioned seats.

Here’s hoping that theater advocates will sign off quickly on the change in location. Tennis players can almost hears the “thunk” of balls bouncing on the new courts.

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