Tonight’s Facilities Committee meeting, and the discussion on the Valley Forge Elementary School tennis courts, could best be described as a ‘shared vision’. That is, a shared vision between the VFES neighbors and the TE School Board.
The primary focus of the meeting was the VFES tennis courts – their usage and maintenance. Since the last Facilities Committee meeting in June, VFES neighbor Michele Berger had spoken with a number of neighbors, tennis pros, and court maintenance companies and offered her findings to the audience, Facilities Committee and school administration. If you recall, the Facilities Committee decided at their last meeting in June to continue the Tredyffrin Township user fee rate of $30/hr. for one court and $60/hr. for two courts for private lessons and tennis camps.
Although residents enjoyed the use of the VFES tennis courts free of charge this summer, usage fees were expected to begin in September with the start of school. Tonight the Facilities Committee chair Pete Motel offered a brief history on the tennis courts and then listened to community member’s questions and concerns, offering clarity where appropriate. VFES neighbor Don Detweiler has maintained the VFES tennis courts for years and offered the opinion that the courts surface and nets have at least 5 more years of use before costly repairs are required.
Board members and community members listened to different viewpoints and discussed potential solutions to long-term maintenance issues … a two-way dialogue with a shared direction.
A satisfying and amiable solution to the tennis court usage was reached; I can report that there will be no charge for residents to use the VFES tennis courts. The School District will collect user fees from those individuals using the courts ‘for profit’ — such as tennis lessons or tennis camp at a rate of $30/hr per court. With the start of school, the tennis courts will be locked during the school day. The tennis courts will be available for resident’s use after school, weekends and on non-school days. However, it was agreed that the school district’s Safety Committee will review this policy to possibly permit court usage during the school day.
The Facilities Committee meeting represented community conversation and a shared vision. Pete Motel involved the people in the decisions that affected them – the VFES neighbors. Michele Berger agreed to serve as the liaison between the Facilities Committee and the VFES neighbors. Common ground was found and it was a pleasure to witness; thanks to all involved!
On a personal note, for those wondering about me and the status of Community Matters, I am OK and so is CM. I have struggled with some health and personal issues during the last couple of months but I think that the fog has finally begun to lift. I appreciate your emails and your concern – Wasn’t it Emerson that said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.”
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I am pleased, happy and delighted to hear this news. Thank-you to Pete Motel, the School Board, Don Detweiler, Michele Berger and Pattye for your thoughtful ideas and persistent diligence in finding common ground and coming to a satisfying and amicable solution.
As we commerate the March on Washington, It is refreshing to see collaboration between our school board and the community. I thank my neighbors and school board members for making an effort to find a reasonable solution. Psalms 133:1 states “How good and pleasant it is when people live together in unity”! I hope to see more collaboration in the future on all issues.
Hopefully, the last few months have enlightened the school board (and our community) They have had time to reflect on the way things were happening. A change was needed. We must all stay informed and involved. I am optimistic that we now can have an open dialogue at future meetings about all the tough issues we face in the future as a community. It doesn’t do any of us any good to be working against each other. I’m glad to see
this turn around.