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New courts at Cumberland?

Residents ask Whitefish Bay School District for $30,000 to help build new tennis courts

Nov. 16, 2012

Whitefish Bay - A group of residents asked the Whitefish Bay School Board Building and Grounds Committee last week for funds to go toward construction of new tennis courts at Cumberland Elementary.

The residents are asking the School Board for $30,000, which is the total cost of removing the current dilapidated courts, Director of Business Services Shawn Yde said. The cost to refurbish the courts is $128,000 and Whitefish Bay residents and parents of Cumberland Elementary students have vowed to raise the additional money.

"It's something that's near and dear to our hearts not only for the entire community, but to bring the courts back to the school because kids still play on them and they aren't safe. They are not a great asset to the school," said Katie Warner-Smith, co-chair of the fundraising effort and parent to four students at Cumberland.

She said they anticipate the fundraising to be complete by May.

Yde said the tennis courts at Cumberland and Richards Elementary have fallen into disrepair and became unplayable about 14 years ago. Removal of both tennis courts has been in the long range maintenance plan for the past few years.

The proposal is to redo the courts so they are safe for children to play on and will allow tennis to be added to the physical education curriculum. The goal is to have three, regulation 78-foot courts using the existing footprint.

The United States Tennis Association has donated rackets, balls and nets to Cumberland in support of this project, Warner-Smith said.

"It will bring benefits to students in multiple ways as well as enhance that area for the benefits of the entire community," said Superintendent Mary Gavigan. "I think it's a valuable partnership."

School Board member Anne Berleman Kearney told the board they have to anticipate a similar request from parents of Richards' students should they approve allocating funds for the Cumberland courts.

Should the board approve the fund request at a future meeting, the district would oversee all construction and design plans of the courts.

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