Aspen tennis bubble plans bounce forward |

Aspen tennis bubble plans bounce forward

ASPEN ” Indoor tennis at the city’s public courts will be served up this winter, if a private group can raise more than a half million dollars to cover four clay courts at the Aspen Tennis Club.

The Aspen City Council on Tuesday agreed to let city park officials negotiate a contract with a group of tennis enthusiasts called Aspen Community Effort for Indoor Tennis (ACE-IT), which is raising money for the capital improvement.

The group will pay to seasonally cover the courts with a bubble, which is estimated to cost between $500,000 and $600,000, and then donate the structure to the city.

In return, the city will operate and provide oversight of the court operations during the summer and winter under a professional services agreement that will last for three years.

The city annually subsidizes the tennis operations to the tune of $30,000. Parks officials said the year-round operational costs will not significantly affect the current subsidy level or the city’s general fund. If it costs more than the city’s subsidy to operate the courts year-round, the private group will pay the additional costs.

ACE-IT is rallying with the intent to provide year-round tennis that is accessible and affordable. Organizers say opportunities for indoor play in the winter have dwindled as private clubs are eliminating their tennis facilities or have increased their prices so they are no longer affordable for locals. The group’s intent is to raise the funds for capital construction by July in order to have indoor courts covered for next winter.

City Councilman Jack Johnson said he wants additional information on the proposal before he supports it, such as what the neighbors at Truscott think of a year-round facility and what kind of energy impacts it would generate.

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