Decision advances possible tennis center in Stafford

The Metro Council has approved Lake Oswego’s request for an urban growth boundary expansion in the Stafford area, giving the city the go-ahead to continue planning a new indoor tennis center.

The decision last week will allow the city to build the new facility on what is known as the Rassekh property, a 10-acre site across Stafford Road from Luscher Farm that the city bought with voter-approved bond proceeds for recreation FILE PHOTO - This property will come inside of the urban growth boundary following the approval of Lake Oswego's request to expand the UGB.

To bring the Rassekh property inside of the UGB, Lake Oswego had to prove its need for a new tennis facility couldn’t be reasonably met on land already inside of the urban growth boundary, and that the city couldn’t wait on the project until 2015, Metro’s next scheduled analysis of whether to expand the UGB.

Even with Metro’s approval, officials have many more steps to take before a tennis center can be built there, Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Director Kim Gilmer said Monday.

“All along the council has been taking steps to investigate the feasibility of a new tennis center,” Gilmer said. “The UGB was a necessary piece in order to allow construction for a facility there, if the city were to decide to do so in the future.”

Officials plan to fund the new eight-court building with revenue bonds backed by tennis center fees, tennis reserves and the eventual sale of the existing city tennis center property. The new indoor courts would replace the old, heavily used Diane Drive building, which can’t be expanded in its current location next to Springbrook Park.

Regardless of a new nearby tennis and aquatic center, officials believe Lake Oswego has a huge need for new indoor courts of its own.

The standard or ideal ratio is 250 players per court, city consultants told the city council in September. Today, with at least seven new courts at the Stafford Hills club in Tualatin but without the addition of the four new public courts proposed in Lake Oswego, the ratio is 1,100 players per court, according to an operational analysis presented by the consultants.

The analysis looked at market demand for indoor tennis and revenue and expense projections associated with the proposed new facility.

But the council hasn’t yet directed anyone to actually build the tennis center.

Gilmer plans to present new estimates of the cost of construction based on some conceptual plans for the site at a council meeting next week. The council requested the information to build on other reports, including one provided in September.

Gilmer said the report will examine possible layouts, how the facility would sit on the property and how architects might be able reduce the building’s “visual impacts,” plus associated costs.

“It has to look right,” she said. “It has to work with the landscape.”

As for what happens next, she should, “We have a new council that will start in January, and it will be up to them whether they want this as a priority or not.”

The next council meeting begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday at city hall, 380 A Ave.

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