The City of Mill Valley began the reconstruction of the Boyle Park Tennis Courts this week, realizing a long-sought quest for local tennis players and completing a multi-faceted community campaign to fund the overhaul of the popular courts.

In June, the Mill Valley City Council authorized a contract with American Asphalt Repair and Resurfacing Company to reconstruct the five Boyle park tennis courts at a total cost of approximately $888,000. The project is estimated to finish by the beginning of November. The courts will be closed during that time, but construction was timed to begin after summer tennis camps and programs have concluded.

The three lower tennis courts (closest to East Blithedale Avenue) at Boyle Park were built in the 1930s, and the upper two courts were added in the late 1950s. All five courts have received minor repairs over the years but “the time has come when it is no longer practical to perform these maintenance tasks and a full reconstruction is necessary,” City officials said.

The reconstruction of the Boyle Park Tennis Courts caps a longstanding effort by the local tennis community to raise money to supplement City funding for the reconstruction of the public courts. Led by Wendy and Eric Crowe and the Boyle Park Renovation campaign, the community raised $256,000 to revitalize the courts, including a $20,000 grant from the United States Tennis Association (USTA), as well as grants from the Olympic Club Foundation and the Outdoor Art Club and individual donations that ranged from $10 to $20,000.

“I am thrilled that we are finally about to begin construction on the new tennis courts and extremely grateful for all the donations and support over the past six years that helped us to raise $256,000 in community funds which allowed this dream to be some a reality,” Wendy Crowe said. “We look forward to having a tennis facility worthy of our beautiful town.”

The City is putting forth $501,600 in public funding for the project, including $321,000 coming from the City’s Capital Improvement Program, $140,600 from the countywide quarter-cent sales tax that was approved by voters in 2012 to pay for county parks, open space and farm programs and $40,000 from the City’s Municipal Services Tax (MST), a locally supported parcel tax first approved in 1987 that generates $1.2 million annually. Of that MST funding, $900,000 goes to street maintenance and repair and $300,000 goes to the City’s fire prevention-focused Vegetation Management Program. The MST is up for renewal in 2016. MST funds are being used in conjunction with the Boyle Park Tennis Courts project to allow for the replacement of retaining walls along East Drive, which provide structural support for the roadway.

The project itself is “essentially a reconstruction of the tennis facility,” according to the City. It includes: a reconstruction of the surface of the courts; the installation of a new electrical system and new lighting; new fencing and gates and hardware; improved drainage with storm water treatment; new retaining walls; and new concrete paths. All of the work will be ADA compliant and meet USTA standards.

The project also includes the removal of several oak trees around the courts, as City engineers determined that the tree roots near and between the courts have lifted and damaged the walls and walkways around the courts. This creates trip hazards, which pose both safety and accessibility issues. If left to remain, the tree roots will continue to cause damage to the new retaining walls, walkways, and the new surface of the courts. City staff will install the new trees once the project is completed.

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