Tennis enthusiast raise cash to rehabilitate Mary Beach court

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Tennis enthusiasts are putting their money where their mouth is to try to get the courts at Mary Beach Court in Petrolia fixed.

In February, Krista Mueller, the tennis coach at LCCVI, went to council with a proposal to fix the town’s facility. Blacktop had been placed on the courts as a quick fix several years ago. It is now has cracks or as resident Norm Sutherland put it “craters” and is dangerous to play on.

Mueller had found a local contractor willing to complete the work for about $13,000. Since February, with the rising exchange rate, the cost for materials is up to $15,000. Experts also believe the blacktop has to be removed at a cost of about $5,000.

But Mueller came with cash in hand to Petrolia Council Monday hoping to convince councillors to move forward. Residents and service groups have offered $3,000 so far to have the courts resurfaced. Mueller says she even had a call from a woman out west who had read about the project in The Independent who sent in a donation.

Mueller knows the town has plans for new courts but “I respectfully ask that something could be done about the current courts…If we don’t have courts right away I don’t know that we can practice very well,” she says referring to the 27 member high school tennis team – now in its second year.

Dave Menzies, director of community services, has been investigating the cost and says most of the contractors say fixing the Mary Beach courts will cost about $20,000.

“What every contractor has told us so far is, they can fix the large crack, but do not come back and yell at them because the crack will reappear…instead of five inches it will be half an inch…it will bring it back to playing condition for a short period of time.”

Council asked Mueller and Menzies to work together to try to find a solution adding Mueller could continue her fundraising effort for the courts including the possibility of offering signs to people who would donate to the reconstruction. (The donations would eligible for a tax receipt.)

Sutherland, an engineering consultant who built his own tennis court years ago, also offered his services. “It is clear that what we ant to do is spend the minimum amount of money so we can spend the money on a new court down the road,” he says adding he has some ideas how to accomplish that.

Mueller is hopeful the project can be completed soon for the safety of the young tennis players. “I can’t drive 27 to Brigden to practice.”