Tennis Courts At Ben Geren Park In Fort Smith Getting A Facelift

FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — The tennis courts at Ben Geren Park in Fort Smith have been in dire need of repairs.

Not only is it a pain for players, it’s also costing the county money.

The last time the tennis courts were resurfaced was in 2012 and wear and tear over the past eight years have caused cracks and small chunks to break from the courts.

“It’s been about a year. We’ve had to shut down a couple of the courts and some of our events and now we’re down to three courts that are usable for USTA events," said Melissa Kelly, Western Arkansas Tennis Association Director.

Standing water gathers in areas creating ‘birdbaths’ and historic flooding last year made the problem worse.

“The flooding definitely contributed to the standing water and the more standing water that you have the quicker than it’ll deteriorate so, yes," said Jay Randolph, Sebastian County Park Administrator.

A few weeks ago the Sebastian County Quorum Court approved funding to resurface the tennis courts. The project should cost a little more than $46, 000.

"Because of the increased folks coming out to Chaffee Crossing we’ve had a lot more activity and have had the past couple of years," Randolph said.

The Western Arkansas Tennis Association which has nearly 800 members has had to cancel adult and junior tournaments.

"We’ve been able to reschedule most of them and this year we’re going to kind of use other facilities in town that have been generous enough to let us use their courts," Kelly said.

The organization has contributed $224,000 to improvements at Creekmore, Tilles and other area parks.

It's in the process of applying for grants for Ben Geren Park.

Avid tennis players say they are eager to see the changes.

“They are supportive on the court. They are supported off the court. We just like for them to have a nice place to play," Kelly said.

The tennis courts won’t be resurfaced until it gets warmer outside, which means either sometime in the spring or this summer.

Ben Geren will likely start hosting tournaments again next year.

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