It was a unanimous vote by the Sebastian City Council to keep the Friendship Park tennis courts clay. The vote came after residents requested that they not resurface the courts to asphalt.
Leisure Services Director Brian Benton recently told the Parks Advisory Committee that the cost to resurface the courts using clay would be $23,300. It would have cost the city nearly $300,000 to convert them from clay to asphalt.
Clay courts are cheaper to construct, however they require daily maintenance, which can be expensive. The lines may need to be painted more frequently and rolled more often than hard courts. The watering of the court needs to be done regularly to keep the conditions optimal.
Local Citizens say clay tennis courts are easier on joints, ligaments, and the body in general.
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There were many comments made to the Parks and Recreation Board asking the city to keep the clay.
“It’s easier on the elderly, and the annual maintenance costs, based on our research, is pretty much the same, but the upfront costs would be extensive,” City Manager Paul Carlisle said.
Carlisle said all fees are waived to play tennis at Friendship Park due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents usually pay $3 for 1 1/2 hours of play, while non-residents pay $5.
Carlisle said the tennis courts are useful because they are trying to get people out to exercise rather than being cooped up in their homes.