At NEXT WEEK’s Annual Town Meeting and Vote, one bonded capital project on the ballot is the question of bonding $450,000 to replace the eight tennis courts at Wilton High School. GOOD Morning Wilton has received two letters about the project–one in favor and one against.
FOR: Make Tennis Courts a Valued–Safe–Town Resource
To the Editor:
I am writing to express my strong support for the current proposal to fund the replacement of the Wilton High School tennis courts.
As an avid player, I’ve played on the courts many times over the past 17 years and every year a new set of larger and larger cracks appears. The town fills the cracks enough to (hopefully) prevent injuries and does it’s best to cover the cracks with paint, but the playability of the courts suffers and the town is throwing away money by constantly trying to repair an ever-expanding problem. Even with the efforts to fill the cracks it’s never enough. I played at the High School yesterday and one of the areas where two cracks came together left a big divot where a chunk of the court had popped out. On a few occasions this spring I’ve played at the New Canaan High School courts (which were recently redone using Wilton’s proposed surface of post-tension concrete) and they were significantly more playable than the Wilton courts and looked beautiful. Making the switch from asphalt to post-tension concrete isn’t just a matter of making the courts more enjoyable to play on, it will save the town money by significantly reducing the cost to maintain the courts each year.
While I was disappointed to see the project scope reduced to only address the high school courts and not deal with the same issues facing the Middlebrook courts, I recognize that short-term financial pressures forced such concessions. I do hope that Middlebrook can be addressed in future years, both to manage the ongoing cost to continually fill the cracks and deal with the potential safety issues that are inherent in playing in courts with such deep cracks (our high school’s junior varsity teams have to play there every day), but also to ensure we have enough playable courts in town. There have been many times where I’ve tried to play at the high school only to find the courts full. Yesterday, in just 45 minutes I saw three different groups arrive and not have a court available as all eight courts were being used.
Although Wilton isn’t a town with as many public amenities as some of our neighboring towns, we take pride in the public facilities we do have. The high school courts provide a service to all residents, not just students and are located in a very visible place as people drive through town on Rte. 7. I think it’s important to support the funding required to bring these facilities up to date and make sure they are a valued, and safe, resource for our town.
AGAINST: Care to Squander $450,000 for a game of Tennis?
To the Editor:
According to the British author, Ernest Benn, “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.”
Unfortunately, Wilton’s tax payers keep getting hit up financially for remedies that are ‘nice to have,’ but for which we are not getting value for the money. For example, some $7 million of taxpayers’ money went to fund a bond for a ‘nice to have’ renovation of the Comstock Community Center. Money well spent, or squandered?
It was squandered. Why? Because, as anyone with eyes can see, the building is way under-utilized: multiple rooms are used for storage, most rooms are perennially empty, and use by seniors citizens is minimal. For perspective, for the four days from April 20-23, fewer than a dozen folks were recorded on the building’s sign-up sheet.
Now, as for the latest “remedy for a problem that does not exist.” Sadly, with the exception of selectman [Michael] Kaelin, the Board of Selectmen have misdiagnosed what needs to be done regarding the state our High School tennis courts. Why? Because, the other four selectmen voted to have us spend $450,000 to “replace” those courts. Here’s why that remedy is wrong: Our courts are in good shape. In fact, they’re equal in quality to those in Weston and Ridgefield schools, and those used by world class pros at the WTA’s Connecticut Open. In fact, the CT Open courts are “repaired” annually by the same company that annually repairs ours.
To quote the humorist, P.J. O’Rourke, “It is a popular delusion that the government wastes vast amounts of money through inefficiency and sloth. Enormous effort and elaborate planning are required to waste this much money.” Well, as a government of the people, let’s not waste or squander $450,000 of our money, and vote no on this bond issue. For it is clearly ill-conceived, it is unjustifiable, and it’s an unnecessary expenditure. A far better use of our money, IMHO, would be for the beautification of our downtown, along with continued support for our fantastic library.