At the August 29 Parks & Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB) Meeting, Staff presented an overview of the recent Northam Park Open Space Study process that had been undertaken over the course of the summer, along with a recommendation for how to reuse this space once it is no longer part of the Northam Tennis complex.
The study was focused on a .44-acre area of the park that will become available between the tennis courts and Tremont Pool once the Northam Tennis facility has been reconstructed. At a July 17 PRAB Meeting, Staff shared a list of options based on the findings of the 2018 Parks & Recreation Comprehensive Plan, and details of a scoring process used to rank the options.
The results of this ranking process were also shared, with three primary options emerging as the top considerations: an open shelter; pickleball courts; or asphalt tennis courts. Following the presentation, the City sought resident feedback from mid-July to mid-August. Much of the feedback received focused on the three top options, with a desire for green space, maintaining the park’s neighborhood character, the need for a high quality pickleball complex in the near term, and a desire for a tennis hub that included both clay and asphalt courts.
When assessing the results of the study, Staff also took into consideration several important factors as they developed their ultimate recommendation. This included:
- The unique character of the space in question.
- Consideration of timelines and programming opportunities for future park development projects across the community.
- The typical programming approach in UA parks that provides for a mix of smaller-scale facilities at several locations – an approach that has proven a successful, providing the desired amenities without compromising each park’s neighborhood feel and integrity.
Staff’s ultimate recommendation was to construct six pickleball courts, allowing for additional green space with a pathway and small shelter or trellis between the courts and Tremont Pool, additional green space and a second small shelter or trellis to the south of the courts, and a shade structure within the Northam Tennis complex. This option would provide the community with highly desired pickleball courts in the near future, while also adhering to the traditional approach of spreading a variety of amenities across different park locations.
A majority of PRAB members reacted positively to this proposal, with the board ultimately voting 6-1 to endorse the Staff recommendation of pickleball in the new space with an alternate of asphalt tennis to provide Council the option to support limiting the number of uses at Northam Park, with a focus on pursuing dedicated pickleball courts at Thompson and/or Fancyburg parks at a future date.
Staff is working with OHM Advisors to prepare bid documents that will include a base bid to replace the service building and eight tennis courts. It will include several bid alternates for consideration:
- Construct an additional clay tennis court for a total of nine courts.
- Construct six pickleball courts, improved pathway access and additional green space.
- Construct a shelter within the tennis complex.
- Construct two small shelter/trellis structures in the green space area.
Next steps in the process include:
- A public bid for construction of the Northam Tennis and Service Building project – including the above mentioned add alternates – will be open from late September through October 23.
- Assuming the bid process is favorable, a contractor recommendation will be considered by City Council at its November 13 and 20 meetings, with a vote anticipated on November 20.
- If the Northam Tennis Service Building project and any of the above add alternates are approved by Council, construction will begin early in 204, with an anticipated completion by the Winter of 2025.
Additional details of the Northam Park Open Space study and the Northam Tennis and Service Building plans can be found here. If you have questions or comments on this project, please send an email to [email protected].