Denver Tennis Park advocates address community concerns

Photo: Courtesy of Denver Metro Media

The Denver Tennis Park (DTP) is currently under construction and expected to be complete in 10 months. The site is situated on a triangle of land on South Franklin Street between South High School and I-25.

DTP
Photo: Denver tennis Park (DTP) construction should be complete by next summer

As you may recall from a prior article, the facility will be home to the University of Denver’s men’s and women’s tennis teams. The facility will be operated by Denver Tennis Park, Inc. (DTP), a non-profit organization coordinating the project in a public-private initiative with Denver Public Schools (DPS) and the University of Denver. Development of the project is supported by several local philanthropic organizations, including the Walton Family Foundation.

The project calls for six outdoor courts and a large, sky-lighted building housing seven indoor courts, along with a parking lot and a small triangle of land that could be used for additional courts, pickle-ball or other racquet sports.

A neighborhood meeting was recently held to address growing local resident questions and concerns. A skeptical public wanted details on the tennis park’s public-private financial arrangement, facility use agreement and availability to the public (DU & High School Students). Finally, residents and parents wanted to discuss the impact on traffic and the overall safety for the site plan.

According to a Denver Metro Media report, attendees were advised that the University of Denver and DPS together are contributing $4.2 million of the $14.2 million project cost, and each will receive 10,000 hours of the facility’s court time per year. Each will also pay an amount proportional to their court usage for operational costs. At this time, DPS Chief Operating Officer David Suppes DU and DPS will each pay about $50-60,000 annually.

The 10,000 hours (20,000 total) allocated to DU and DPS students equates to 20 percent of the total facility hours. According to DTP Director Julie Bock , the facility will be open 7:00a.m.-11:00p.m., 364 days a year, meaning there are about 100,000 court hours available. However, when exactly in any given day DPS and DU students’ use of those hours will fall is still under negotiation. The tennis park comes with a 50-year ground lease with a 20-year option to renew and the lands is owned by the Denver Public Schools.

According to the article, the concerns of attendees were adequately addressed – particularly the terms of sharing the public – private business arrangement.

As for project funding, it surfaced during the meeting that $2 million dollars approved  from a 2012 Bond was diverted—monies originally earmarked for All City Stadium at South High School drainage work—to pay for drainage work on the DTP project. So, expect this to remain a thorny issue between Denver Public Schools and South High with little impact on the timeline for completion of the DTP project.

Otherwise, expect the facility to be completed next summer as planned.

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