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FRIDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2006
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Daily reporter Paul Huggins and photographer Gary Cosby Jr. illuminate the new inflatable tennis dome with a hand flash at Point Mallard Park on Thursday. The lights, the last major part of the indoor court's installation, came Thursday. The inflatable court is expected to be open within the next few days. The city has not determined a fee schedule for the indoor courts, so usage will be free until the cost is set.
Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr. and Nikki Cosby
Daily reporter Paul Huggins and photographer Gary Cosby Jr. illuminate the new inflatable tennis dome with a hand flash at Point Mallard Park on Thursday. The lights, the last major part of the indoor court's installation, came Thursday. The inflatable court is expected to be open within the next few days. The city has not determined a fee schedule for the indoor courts, so usage will be free until the cost is set.

Like an egg
ready to hatch

Indoor tennis center nearly complete

By Paul Huggins
phuggins@decaturdaily.com 340-2395

Players at the Jimmy Johns Tennis Center's new indoor courts will have a blast even before they serve their first ace.

A blast of air greets you as you pass through the revolving door, a byproduct of the air pressure needed to inflate the 38-foot-tall structure that is a couple of days from its first play.

The lights — the last major part of the indoor court's installation — came on Thursday afternoon, and Tennis Director Tommy Wade said all he needs is a day or two to remove the protective plastic cover over the two courts, pressure-wash the surface and install the nets before the public can begin practicing backhand volleys.

Players can call the pro shop at 341-4948 to check on availability of the courts.

The city has not determined a fee schedule for the indoor courts, so usage will be free until the cost is set, Wade said.

The Decatur Community Tennis Association paid the $12,000 cost of the bubble dome. The city will spend $464,243 to enhance the center, which is next to the T.C. Almon Recreation Center at Point Mallard.

Eight lighted courts

The city has added eight lighted courts, with four clay courts to come in the spring. That will bring the total number to 18 and the ability to host large tournaments. Construction began two weeks ago on a tennis building that will provide office space, storage rooms, a pro shop, restrooms and a display area.

The contractor has six months to complete the building and has told the city he probably can finish the work in four.

The tennis center is one of several new facilities that Decatur Parks and Recreation plans to unveil in 2007.

Construction of a pavilion and second restroom facility at the Jack Allen Southwest Soccer Complex has begun, and the contractor has 90 working days to complete it. The second restroom shortens the distance that users of the far fields must walk, while the pavilion will be large enough to accommodate about a dozen tables.

In addition, the city has assigned a contractor to begin installing irrigation and sod for the family park below the parking area.

Railroad Park

With grant money given through Community Development, the city has architectural drawings for a new pocket park, temporarily called Railroad Park.

It's between Turner-Surles Community Resource Center on Sycamore Street Northwest and the pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks.

It will feature three stone and timber arbors surrounding a circular fountain and patio.

Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Dunlap said the Railroad Park project is ready to be let out for bid.

Nearby, with money left over from highway projects, the city is ready to start work on the new Northwest Community Park close to Carrie Matthews Recreation Center at Washington, Davis and Cain streets.

The architectural drawings call for an open-spaces park with landscaping, benches and sidewalks.

Lastly, the city has architectural drawings to complete the southeastern half of Frazier Park at Cherry and Line streets Northeast.

Japanese garden

The northwestern side features the Japanese garden donated by Daikin-America several years ago.

Drawings for the unfinished side call for a brick patio, arbors and landscaping.

Dunlap said he hopes to pay for the park with private donations.

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