Your Voices Matter … They Saved the Tennis Courts!

At today’s Facilities Committee meeting, chair Pete Motel and the other 3 School Board committee members, Jim Bruce, Betsy Fadem and Liz Mercogliano made a 180 degree turn from their former position of demolishing the tennis courts at Valley Forge Elementary School.  With a unanimous vote from the Facilities Committee, they will send their recommendation to preserve to the tennis courts to the School Board.  Motel explained that their recommendation will include the caveat of a new signed agreement between the District and Tredyffrin Township.  The new agreement will be an update to the original 1974 agreement.

Attending the Facilities Committee meeting, Tredyffrin Township supervisor Phil Donahue spoke of support for the District’s decision to save the tennis courts.  He suggested a willingness on the part of the township, to work together with the District for a new agreement and that if it was ready by Monday, it would be presented at the Board of Supervisors meeting.

Although Motel mentioned there were “sticky wickets” yet to be worked out re an agreement, I think most of us in the audience were satisfied that the tennis courts will be preserved.  The padlocks have been removed and the tennis courts are again available for use. The parking lot expansion plan to add 24 parking spaces will continue this summer (without the demolition of the tennis courts).

Saving the tennis courts from demolition just goes to show what can happen when a few determined people come together for a common cause.  Voices do matter … and in this case, it saved the tennis courts.

13 Comments

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  1. I am certainly pleased about the outcome here, especially for those residents who use the courts. I look forward to hearing about how the impervious issue will be addressed – Trout Creek flooding remains an unresolved problem, and how upkeep costs will be taken care of, did they take that one gentleman up on his offer to pay/fundraise for the court’s upkeep?

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    Caroline O'Halloran Reply:

    Mitch, Bill Martin, the township manager, told me after Friday’s meeting that the Tredyffrin Township Foundation for Parks and Recreation has agreed to pay for the courts’ upkeep and will fund raise as necessary in order to do so. It’s in the story I posted about yesterday’s meeting at http://www.mainlinemedianews.com.

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

    Thanks for the update Caroline. I’m expecting that there will be further discussion at Monday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

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    TE Resident Reply:

    I don’t see the problem. As a neighbor that uses the tennis courts, its a good idea for the parks foundation to get involved with this project. This arrangement will allow us to donate to that board and have it go towards the upkeep of the courts.

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  2. What an amazing amount of wasted time for something used by 0.0005% of the population. Not even the school uses it!

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    Shining Light Reply:

    Goes to show what a little community awareness and involvement can accomplish.

    Hats off to citizens who got this done.

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  3. Before the township commits to “saving” the tennis courts, why don’t they revisit all the cuts to other public parks and enforce the rules in place for the flooding issues caused by impervious coverage? Sounds like a tantrum was rewarded.

    Yet several years ago the township stopped mowing parks leaving neighbors to either pay for services or endure high bug & rodent populations. We have a three tree removal minimum, but evidently only if you get caught. If you want to play tennis, join the Y.

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    Guy Reply:

    Sorry, three tree removal MAXIMUM not minimum.

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  4. This has happened before….the BOS rides in to rescue people from the big, bad school board..and 15 years ago it was about the ugly parking at Valley Forge Elem. The BOS organized a meeting with the community to “encourage” the school to do more planting to screen residents from seeing buses…
    One thing we all need to remember–it is all taxpayer money. The BOS makes the school district spend it so they can keep their rates down…just like the new development with storm water issues for Glenhardie…watch for I,pervious coverage there…but the district may have to build a retention basin…and the township will get fees from the school,district for permits…

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  5. I attended the BOS meeting last night. According to the township manager, the township received a ‘draft’ agreement from TESD on Friday, following the 2 PM Facilities Committee meeting. Michelle K. stated that the agreement was not as previously discussed between supervisors and school board members. For instance, there had been NO discussion that this agreement between TT and TESD would include a ‘trade’ of storm water requirements. I don’t understand how the school board could possibly still think that they would somehow get out of meeting the storm water requirements of the township. Makes no sense — it has been stated and re-stated, that whether the tennis courts stay or go, storm water obligations remain.

    I didn’t understand how the township could receive a draft agreement immediately following the Facilities Meeting — isn’t the process that the recommendation from Facilities would first have to go the full school board at their next meeting for approval? Last night, I asked the question and the township solicitor Vince Donohue appeared to agree that would have been the procedure.

    Beyond the storm water, Michelle mentioned that that the agreement also did not include anything about the Parks Foundation as a source for maintenance costs, and a mechanism for people to contribute to support the tennis courts. Sean Moir, representing the Parks Board, asked the question that if the Foundation was the financial contributor, would the Parks Board be the overseer of the actual work on the tennis courts. JD offered that the Parks Foundation as a 501c3 nonpofit, decided as a board what they will support. There are many unanswered questions as to how the agreement would work, the funding of the tennis court maintenance costs, etc. etc. In the end, there was a suggestion from the supervisors for the township solicitor and the School District solicitor to work on the language of an agreement that would be satisfactory to both sides.

    Bottom line … at the Facilities meeting, Pete Motel announced that the District had insurance for the tennis courts and that the lock was off the gates. With the future of the tennis courts still in jeopardy, I suggest the residents might want to take advantage of the courts while they still have the opportunity!

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  6. not sure how much truth there is to the matter but some of the vfes teachers had been telling the students that the tennis courts will be turned into a soccer field in the last few weeks – this was back when they were padlocked

    what better use than that! at recess only the real young ones play on the playground equipment and the rest are either on the blacktop for basketball or other blacktop gamesvor on the sorry sloped field in the back

    they can’t use the baseball field as that is too far for the teachers to go to keep an eye on the kids

    the school does not even use the tennis courts – the last tennis program they had for after school was last spring and my understanding is that the school (pto) had to pay a fee ($500) to use the courts! this fee is then passed onto the students as a program cost!

    how many of you freelaoding residents who use the courts ever pay a direct fee?

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  7. Question: when people say the tennis courts have nothing to do with storm water requirements, does that mean that demolishing the tennis courts would not allow for impervious coverage elsewhere (net zero) …is the proposed parking a requirement for the number of employees in the building (there are parking requirements per square foot or per employee in the township). SO…is the TESD trying to add parking to meet an ordinance? IF they want more parking, the storm water issue has to do with impervious coverage on the full property. Wouldn’t demolishing the tennis courts and converting it to open land (soccer field clearly more student friendly than tennis courts) be technically related? If they need more parking, they can certainly put in non-Impervious surface for parking, but they lose playground space unless they convert the tennis courts….

    It seems to me we ned to understand the purpose of the addition parking (meet requirements?) and if it is to solve a need, whether the demolition of two tennis courts would help the storm water management issue. Do it’s not a trade per SE,,but IF the district frees up the land, would the impervious surface coverage for the entire property be within legal restrictions? This sounds like something Mimi Gleason could answer,,,.is she working for Easttown…same school district…

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