Dayton plans upgrades to 17 parks

There are no basketball hoops at Belmont Park in southeast Dayton. The park’s tennis courts are cracked and have weeds jutting out.

But the city of Dayton plans to improve Belmont and seven other parks this year, and officials want to improve nine more before the end of 2015.

In total, about 23 basketball courts and 15 tennis courts will be resurfaced and improved. About 13 tennis and two basketball courts will be eliminated.

“In some cases, people aren’t using these because the courts are unusable,” said Aaron Sorrell, director of the city’s department of planning and community development. “Where we’ve made improvements (to our parks), we’ve seen a significant increase in use, and that’s the intent here.”

City officials evaluated 34 parks that have basketball and tennis courts, and they assessed the condition, use and location of the parks and amenities.

The city identified 17 parks that need repairs, which will be performed in two phases.

Each phase is expected to cost about $500,000, depending on the winning bids, officials said.

In phase 1, the city will focus on the parks that are most heavily used and attached to recreation centers, Sorrell said.

At Belmont Park, two basketball and two tennis courts will be resurfaced. Hoops will be installed. A roller hockey rink will be removed.

At Princeton Park, two new basketball courts will be built and five tennis courts will be resurfaced. An unused volleyball court will be removed.

Burkham Park’s tennis courts are going away. But the park’s basketball courts will be resurfaced.

Burkhardt Park is getting a new basketball court that is closer to Fifth Street. Its tennis courts will be eliminated.

Jane Newcom Park’s basketball and two tennis courts will be resurfaced. So will the basketball and tennis courts at Stuart Patterson Park.

The basketball hoops at Arlington and Residence parks will be replaced.

Phase 1 repairs will hopefully begin in April and finish by the end of summer, but the project definitely will be completed by the end of the year, officials said.

Phase 2 will depend on funding, but looks to include: Bomberger, Welcome, McCabe, College Hill, Burns Jackson, Cleveland, Washington, Five Oaks and Mallory parks.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said basketball and tennis are inexpensive forms of entertainment, and the courts need repaired in order for residents to take advantage of the city’s assets.

“We want our citizens to feel good about and use our parks,” Whaley said. “We want our kids to play outside, and we want people to pay attention our walkability and bikeability, and parks are a key part of that.”

Dayton has 64 official parks, and the city will start working this year to update its parks master plan, which hasn’t been done since the mid-1970s, officials said.