Friday, December 18, 2009

Not a good time to ask Council for half million for tennis facility

Countryside tennis building from roadway.

Countryside tennis building from roadway.

There is little chance that Countryside’s indoor tennis building will get the repairs requested by the Blue Ridge Tennis group. The eventual non-profit organization last month presented to council plans to teach tennis to underserved youth in exchange for free use of the building. The group asked that Council find funds to make repairs. They would also kick in free labor and donated material said Bob Creamer who along with Anna Balog spoke for the group.

Creamer and council received the bad news in an email from assistant manager, Brian Townsend. The inspection by the Facilities Maintenance Division evaluated the conditions that included upgrades to meet code.

The previous lessee Mike Johnson who paid Meadowbrook as much as $27,000 a year operated the facility when in the same conditions. Johnson had complained about the needed repairs and said inspectors came out in July two summers ago. This was the last year Johnson leased the tennis facility. Meadowbrook could not lease it to Johnson because the lease with the city was pending. The city refused to lease it directly to Johnson who attempted to buy it as well.

Now the building has further deteriorated and Johnson has moved on to another facility. The last year Johnson leased the building the rent was reduced from $27,000 to $14,000 a year. This was after finding that Meadowbrook was only paying the city $17,500 to lease the entire golf course and tennis building. He agrees that the repairs were and are needed.

Townsend said the repairs did not include “the potential hazardous material removal (asbestos, etc.).” The major repairs were listed in four categories: $46-$50,000 for the roof, HVAC system $100-$110,000, electrical $11-$13,000 and ceiling insulation $120-$122,000.

“This list is not exhaustive, and does not cover potential costs related to other aesthetic (painting, minor plumbing, flooring, carpeting, etc.).” explained Townsend. The parking area that was actually a road is crumbling and was not included in his report.

“The estimate on these four major items is in the range of $277-295,000.00,” wrote Townsend.

With the shortfall for fiscal year 2010 coming in at 3.5% below projections (almost $9 million short) the timing couldn’t be worse for the group to be asking for anything close to this amount.

One wonders what due diligence the city performed on the building prior to purchasing the golf course, pool and tennis building for $4.1 million in 2005. The course needed almost $2 million to continue to operate, the pool is filled in and the tennis building sits for lack of funds to repair. It may be used for something but reopening as a tennis facility seems unlikely – at least at the city’s expense.

Related article: Vacant Countryside tennis building may have a tenant

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Finance, Roanoke City Politics

Tags: , , ,

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