Tower Courts in Bad Shape; What’s Next?

By Carol Arnett

Florissant Councilman Pat Stinnett asked the rest of the Florissant City Council to consider the tennis courts at Tower Court Park when the council works on the budget this month. Stinnett spoke to the council at the council work session last week. The park is located at Florissant Road between Washington St. and St. Catherine St. in Stinnett’s ward,

Although there was agreement that the courts look bad and need improvement, there was disagreement on how best to update the park, and discussion about spending the money required to upgrade the courts.

“We got a grant and made improvements to the park,” Stinnett said, referring to recent upgrades. “The only thing we haven’t gotten to yet is the courts.”

Stinnett added, “I don’t think I go a week without someone commenting to me” about the courts.

Stinnett noted that redoing the courts would be expensive. He suggested that since there are four courts, the city consider bringing two up to competitive level and redo to other tow in a cheaper way.

Stinnett said that although it would be expensive, he noted that the Park Improvement Tax has raised over $3 million since it was approved, and only 12 – 14% has been used for capital improvements.

Stinnett also pointed out that Florissant Road was the way most people enter the city, and the park was in a popular spot, with many well-attended businesses nearby.

Councilman Tim Lee said he agreed that the courts were bad, but questioned how much use the courts get. He noted that there are other courts in other city parks.

Mayor Tom Schneider said he wanted City Parks Director Todd Schmidt to speak to the council about tennis in Florissant. “In the St. Louis community as a whole, tennis isn’t as popular as it used to be,” Schneider said. Schneider has said before that he would like the parks department to look into starting a tennis program for children.

Schmidt agreed that tennis was not as popular as it was in the 1980s.  He noted that there are other, better courts in other city parks. He also said that while the courts were aesthetically bad, they are also posing a safety issue because of trip issues.

“The Park Board is in agreement that the courts are bad,” Schmidt said. “Again, money is the issue.”

“We’re doing it for aesthetic reasons, not for players,” Councilman Joe Eagan said. “If we’re doing it for the players, they can use another park.”

Lee questioned if there would be interest in another use for the park, such as bocce. Schneider said the would like to look into the possibility of upgrading two courts to a competitive level, and replacing two courts with something else, such as horseshoe pits.

The council agreed to study the issue and discuss it again at the budget work sessions.

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