Mount Baker tennis courts ready to be served

It's time to get out those new tennis rackets and balls because Cranbrook has sparkling new renovated tennis courts to play on.

Representatives from the City of Cranbrook and School District 5 were on hand to cut the ribbon signifying the grand opening of the newly renovated Mount Baker Tennis Courts.

Representatives from the City of Cranbrook and School District 5 were on hand to cut the ribbon signifying the grand opening of the newly renovated Mount Baker Tennis Courts.

It’s time to get out those new tennis rackets and balls because Cranbrook has sparkling new renovated tennis courts to play on. On Tuesday, representatives from School District 5, the City of Cranbrook and others involved in the project, were at the Mount Baker tennis courts to celebrate the grand opening.

The tennis courts are owned by the school district and operated under a joint use agreement between the school district and the city. The city administers the rentals on behalf of the school district.

Before the refurbishment, the court surfaces were cracking and buckling, which presented safety issues for users.

Sean Whalen, Mount Baker Secondary School teacher, and his 2008/2009 entrepreneur class began the push to renovate the courts, raising around $3,800 for the project through fundraising including a bottle drive, talent shows and a sports clinic. Whalen also secured a $1,200 donation from the Cranbrook Tennis Club and later approached the school board and the city to propose reconstruction or replacement of the tennis courts.

School board chair Frank Lento said the district was impressed by the students’ efforts and the support they received in the community.

“We looked at Sean’s proposal and determined reconstruction made the most sense in its present location, also taking into account the future re-build location of a Mount Baker replacement,” said Frank Lento. “But we couldn’t do it alone. In these tough economic times it takes a community to raise a high school – and the City of Cranbrook was right there to help us out.”

The school board and the city agreed to partner on the reconstruction project in 2012, sharing the reconstruction costs equally. The city provided project management services. The final cost of the project was $355,000.  The project was also successful in securing funding of $50,000 through the Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives Grant.

“The City of Cranbrook was pleased to partner with School District 5 to make this happen,” Cranbrook Mayor Wayne Stetski said.

“There were significant costs involved to do this project right but the result is tennis and pickle ball courts that will be with us for many years. Ensuring that there are a variety of recreational facilities that encourage healthy activities is important to me as mayor and to council, and they contribute to our quality of life.”