Next phase of Lincoln Park facelift centers on tennis courts

The Lincoln Park facelift is in the home stretch, with changes to the tennis courts and track next on the list.

The eight courts at the Clinton Smith Tennis Center have been demolished — fans at last week’s Grand Junction Rockies game parked on the courts once the fences and nets were removed.

In their place will be four standard tennis courts, four Quick Start youth courts, designed to teach the game to children, and four Pickleball courts, a sport that has grown in popularity in town. Construction begins
July 8 on the new courts.

Pickleball is played on a court the size of a badminton court, with a 34-inch high net. The fast-paced game is played with paddles and a ball similar to a Whiffle ball.

“Pickleball is huge,” said Rob Schoeber, the city’s parks director. “We might have scheduling issues once we get these done. It’s so popular now, when we put in the new courts, it could really take off. They love it.”

Tennis players who used the Clinton Smith courts still have options, playing on one of the 10 courts at Canyon View Park and the two courts at Pineridge Park on Ridges Boulevard in the Ridges. There are also nine courts at the Elliott Tennis Center at Colorado Mesa University.

The courts at Lincoln Park have been used more for the Grand Junction Parks and Recreation tennis lessons and some recreational use, and with the addition of the Canyon View courts, not as many were being used at the park.

“Really, over the last several years the usage here has lessened because of the quality,” Schoeber said. “Going from asphalt to post-tension concrete, they’ll be up to the quality (of other courts in town), but we don’t need the number (of courts) we had before.”

The horseshoe pits have been removed and are being built behind the center-field fence at the baseball field, with eight pits this year that should be completed in three weeks. The area will expand next year, Schoeber said.

By removing the horseshoe pits and reconfiguring the tennis courts from a rectangular setup to an L-shaped formation, the parking lot will pick up some much-needed space. Schoeber said between 90 and 100 more spaces will be added in that area, bringing the capacity to 500 vehicles.

The sidewalk next to Stocker Stadium has been resurfaced, and Schoeber said the entire parking lot is scheduled to be chip-sealed in late August when activities at the park are limited.

The track surrounding the football field at Stocker Stadium will be resurfaced starting July 8, with a target completion date of July 22. The track will be closed during resurfacing.

The Grand Junction Parks and Recreation suggests runners and walkers use the hard-surface paths at Lincoln Park, Canyon View, Eagle Rim and Sherwood parks and the Riverfront Trail, and soft-surface paths at Canyon View.

Grand Junction High School’s track is open to the public during the summer until dark; the track is not lighted. School District 51 has a no-pet policy on school grounds, so runners are asked to leave their dogs at home.

Schoeber said during the three-stage project, the parks staff worked to ensure there were more Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant ramps and parking spaces throughout the park.

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