Salina City Commissioners are proceeding with a project to demolish Tri-Rivers Stadium and begin construction of a tennis facility. After several hours of discussion Commissioners voted Monday evening to advance the project by among other things entering into a formal private/public partnership, authorizing demolition of the stadium, and transferring ownership of the area of Jerry Ivey Park which encompasses the tennis courts to USD 305.
According to the City, in response to Saline County’s decision not to renew the lease on the Tri Rivers Stadium in the summer of 2020, they were approached directly by representatives of the Saline County Fair Association regarding the possibility of entering into a short-term lease to allow the 2021 Fair to be conducted.
The City was also approached by Salina Net Generation, a local tennis not-for-profit entity under the name of Salina Tennis Alliance, desiring to raise funds and construct a tennis complex on the site and adjoining property owned by the City.
Net Generation spokesperson Clark Renfro indicated the organization has raised nearly $2 million. That money, combined with $600,000 provided by the City, will be enough to fund a dozen lighted post-tension concrete courts and hitting wall, along with repurposing the former pool house into a clubhouse to include restrooms, showers and other amenities. The total contribution by the City will eventually be in excess of $800,000.
This initiative will also include USD 305 assuming control of the four Jerry Ivey tennis courts, rebuilding these courts, and maintaining them all while continuing to provide access to the general public.
Supporters say the approved plan will allow the City to have a total of 16 public tennis courts available for public use, at a lesser price than what it would cost the City to rebuild the existing 15 courts on their own. SNG’s solution will further assist the City as the City of Salina would only be required to maintain 12 courts, as USD 305 will assume control of the four courts at Jerry Ivey, via the property transfer process. Through this initiative 16 total courts will now be made available to the public and will provide much needed resources for an activity that is an integral part of the community and region.
The agreement is very similar in format to the agreement utilized for the public private partnership with Salina Baseball Enterprises regarding improvement of Dean Evans Stadium.
Prior to the vote, over a half-dozen people passionately spoke in favor saving the stadium, and refurbishing it to attract more agriculture events.