MINT HILL – Christi Neal plays tennis with a group of 16 ladies she says have been involved in the sport since the 1970s. She’d like to continue playing in Mint Hill parks, but she’s worried about cracked and rippling courts, some with mold.
Neal was one of three people Jan. 9 to ask the Mint Hill Board of Commissioners to fix the tennis courts at Park on Wilgrove and Veterans Memorial Park.
“Mint Hill parks are wonderful for this community and for the surrounding area,” Elizabeth Krzywosz said. “The baseball fields, soccer fields, walking trails and playground are maintained nicely and improvements are made. The tennis courts at Veterans and Wilgrove, however, each year they get worse due to the weather and other factors.”
Pat Conti noted how multiple courts have cracks. The last time the town sealed them, staff painted over the white service lines, making it hard to judge if the ball lands out of bounds.
“When the ground is saturated with water after a heavy rain, even though the courts may be dry, the water seeps up onto the courts,” Conti said. “If you keep drying them, the water keeps seeping up. This is when it’s not raining.”
This isn’t the first time town leaders have been asked about the courts.
The Mint Hill Women’s Club asked candidates for mayor and commissioner how they would address the issue in October 2019 during an election forum at Mint Hill Town Hall.
Commissioner Dale Dalton mentioned at the forum how Town Engineer Steve Frey was collecting soil samples and mentioned a water issue underneath the courts. They were resurfaced 10 years ago and the treatment should have lasted 20 years, he said.
Frey said during the Jan. 9 meeting that staff has engaged with a consultant to figure out what’s going on before any money is spent. He said pipes have been installed at the lower courts at Veteran’s Memorial Park to monitor the groundwater.
“It has baffled us,” Frey said. “Something out of the ordinary is happening.”
Frey expects to have more information this month and get some recommendations before commissioners.
Krzywosz said filling in the cracks only works for so long.
“My concern is that players are not wanting to play on these courts, because they are not only unsightly, but in some cases, the cracks and ripples are embarrassing and large enough to be dangerous,” she said.