COLOMBIA — The Columbia Parks and Recreation Commission is set to hear a report Thursday night on improvements to the tennis court at Cosmo-Bethel Park.
Gabe Huffington, acting director of Columbia Parks and Recreation, said the department has earmarked funds as part of the fiscal year 2023 capital improvement budget to update the transformers lights control system one to four.
“These are the original courts of the 12-court complex. And we need to upgrade that system,” Huffington said.
The first change with the lighting is to fix the controls so that a person playing tennis can walk up and press a button to control the lighting.
“But then we’ll also put that on Musco’s control system, which allows us to program the lights to turn on via smartphone or computer,” Huffington said.
Huffington expects the lighting upgrades to be complete by spring 2023.
Although not discussed at Thursday’s meeting, major long-term changes are being made to courts one through four coming to Cosmo-Bethel Park.
Due to be completed by 2028, improvements to the Cosmo-Bethel Park Tennis Complex will include the complete reconstruction of tennis courts one through four, including the removal of existing courts and the installation of new post concrete surfacing and fencing. -tension.
This project is associated with the renewal of the city’s parks sales tax last November.
The construction process is expected to begin between 2026 and 2027.
“…that’s when we’ll be looking at this bigger renovation project where we’re going to take the asphalt courts out of play, take them out and look at the post-tension concrete courts, which is a much bigger product We don’t feel that heat and cold cracking,” Huffington said.
Ben Loeb, the Rock Bridge High School tennis coach, said he thought courts one through four showed a lot of wear and tear when it rained.
“So it retains a lot of water, they have a lot of discoloration in the courts,” he explained.
“After a rain it can make it dangerous if there is water rising between the cracks in the pitch. And just with some discoloration if you have had rain it can be a bit slippery for a while” , Loeb said. “So I think you know there are liability issues there. But more than the playability of the courts. They’re just not what they were 22 years ago.”
Huffington said tennis players will have to wait a few more years for the new courts, but Loeb wants them completed sooner.
“Columbia Parks and Rec has very little money, but I think they need to move it up their priority list if not before 2028, especially for courts one through four,” Loeb said.
The SEC Women’s Tennis Championship is also set to be hosted by MU in 2028. When MU last hosted the tournament in 2014, the park’s tennis courts were needed for practices and warm-ups.
The aim is for the new courts to be completed in 2028 in time for this tournament.
“I think that’s the conversation we’ll have with MU Athletics,” Huffington said. “We will see if there is interest again in using part of our judicial space.”
Huffington said the 2014 tournament needed additional space.
“So we will have conversations with them about the tournament schedule and then as long as we can get everything in order in terms of our offer and our contractor,” Huffington said. “I think it would be a very good goal for us to be able to use these courts for this tournament.”
KOMU 8 News has reached out to Mizzou Athletics for comment, but has not heard back.