Chris Shultz, a city tennis champion and a former Class 4A tennis champion in singles for Parsons High School, asked for the blessing of and ideas from Parsons city commissioners Monday about improving the tennis courts at Forest Park so the city can someday host the state tournament.
There are six tennis courts in Forest Park and the city would need to add four more to host a state tournament.
Shultz wants to begin fundraising and perhaps start a fund with the Parsons Area Community Foundation to collect donations for the cause.
Parsons High School just competed at the state tournament in Pratt and won runner-up as a team. Independence won the team title as well as the singles and doubles titles. For PHS, Shultz’ son, Wyatt, placed second as a freshman in singles, Davis West and Conner Barcus placed second in doubles and Tanner Nolting placed sixth in singles.
Chris Shultz said the courts at Forest Park have a new surface on them that is nice, but the city would need more courts to host the larger tournaments. He suggested 10 tennis courts in addition to pickleball courts at the site.
His idea is to have a stadium-style court for main event matches and perhaps even cover it so play could continue in all weather. Locker rooms at the park would be helpful for competitors. Now, PHS players get changed elsewhere and drive to Forest Park for tennis practice and for local tennis competitions. Labette County High School and Columbus High School also host tournaments at Forest Park.
He said he comes from a tennis family and he hopes to see this project through so his younger children could play there.
Commissioner Tom Shaw said he liked the idea and that the community would probably like to see that. The biggest obstacle is always money.
Commissioner Eric Strait said Shultz gave commissioners something to think about. He also wanted to walk around Forest Park with Shultz to better understand what he hoped to accomplish.
In other business, the commission:
— Heard a report on the 2022 audit from Neil Phillips of Jarred, Gilmore and Phillips PA of Chanute. The city had a clean audit, though Phillips said the city needed to have more money carried over into January to make sure enough money was there to cover bills until property tax income started rolling in. He said the city ended 2021 with $310,000 in the general fund and ended 2022 with $444,000 in the fund, which was a better financial position. Based on spending in 2022, the city would need to have $658,000 carried over into the new budget year, he said. “So we don’t quite even have one month of expenses in the general fund that we’re carrying over yet. We want to get to that point at some point in the future,” Phillips said. The first property tax payments don’t come into the general fund until late in January, he said. The city follows the cash basis law so it cannot spend more money than it has available.
— Heard that Moms Demand Action, the Parsons Police Department and the Labette County Sheriff’s Office teamed up to get a grant of $2,500 to distribute free gun locks at an event from 5 to 7 p.m. June 2.
— Agreed to contract with Hinman Construction of Erie to complete renovation of unit three in the law enforcement training facility at 2103 Corning for $139,675.
— Agreed to purchase three street-ready police patrol vehicles from Superior Emergency Response Vehicles in Andover at a cost of $61,327.93 each. Two are on the lot and the third will be ready for delivery by July.
— Agreed to allow the Parsons Ministerial Association the use of Seaton Family Pavilion in Forest Park for a worship in the park event the Thursday after the Music in the Park concert series ends. The worship will be on Aug. 3. Matt Hoisington, media and events coordinator for the city, agreed to offer his sound system and his services to run it during the event. Sharon Billman and Stan Basler made the request for the park facilities.
— Heard that Tyeler Riggs was no longer leaving his position as code enforcement officer. He was training Tony Yanez to replace him and the two have been working well together, City Manager Debbie Lamb told commissioners. She plans to keep both on the job and work through the budget issues from having an extra person on staff.
— Heard that the city’s ceremony recognizing the work done at Forest Park will be at 10 a.m. Saturday. New equipment has been added and The Pancake Special, the Kiwanis Club’s train, will be working again. “That park’s a happening place,” Lamb said.
— Continued a discussion with Vicki Pribble that began at last Thursday’s work session on state law related to political signs. The signs aren’t supposed to be on public rights of way until 45 days before the election, which will be in August and in November. Pribble is running for the city commission and has signs on private property around town. Pribble also wanted to place a political sign at family members’ graves in Oakwood Cemetery, which Lamb would not allow. Lamb thought that would be disrespectful and commissioners agreed and backed up Lamb’s decision. Pribble said she wanted to show her family members buried there what she’s doing. She also noted that other families have placed notes, ornaments and even tackle boxes near loved one’s graves without restriction.
— Heard from Police Chief Robert Spinks that police have responded to 565 animal complaints so far this year and impounded 152 animals. That’s equivalent to three years of impoundment numbers, Spinks said. Police also issued 13 citations.
— Heard from Spinks that he’s working with city staff to seek grant funds to install a 160-foot radio tower that would communicate with the state’s 800 megahertz radio system and better support law enforcement and fire operations in the Parsons area. The county has a radio tower south of Altamont that communicates with the state’s radio system. Spinks said the cost of the tower would be $1.8 million plus $60,000 in maintenance costs annually.
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