The subject of reopening the closed basketball court at Deer Ridge Park again dominated the discussion at the Kingwood Service Association (KSA) Parks Committee Aug. 5.
In July, Chairman Chris Manthei had requested the committee try to implement the actions needed to reopen it by August [Tribune July 21.] However, the court remained closed as of Aug. 5. The outstanding issues continue to be enhanced security and the coordination of towing enforcement of nonresident vehicles from the park areas during periods when the sports groups play teams from outside of Kingwood.
Maryalice of Kingwood Association Management (KAM) which manages KSA’s contractual services, reported on behalf of Deer Ridge Park steward Clay Lawson, who was not able to attend the meeting.
“Clay has not heard back from the sports groups. I told him what I had heard up through today for optimizing towing operations,” Maryalice said. She said Lawson advised her that when he first contacted the groups about the issue and the need for towing coordination, suggestions were made that the court could be made into a pickleball court. He said the suggestion was made because, according to several sources, pickleball is now the fastest growing sport in the USA and there are no courts in Kingwood. There are basketball courts located at every elementary school.
Bob Rehak said, “Speaking as somebody who grew up on a basketball court and used to spend hours a day in the summer playing basketball at a public park in St. Paul, I think it would be tragic if we eliminated the basketball court. It is America’s sport and I know a lot of kids that love it. Considering eliminating something as popular as that because of a small group of kids…?”
“It’s not kids. It is adults in the evenings that are destroying the basketball court,” Dee Price of Sand Creek said. She explained both Clay and Ethyl McCormick of KAM confirmed that the adults doing the damage were from outside of Kingwood, which is why the heavy emphasis on towing vehicles not displaying “K” stickers is so important.
Syd Furrow of Kings Point accessed the internet during the general discussion. He read out the description of the game of pickleball and its court requirements. It appeared to the committee that if the size of the basketball court could accommodate pickleball it would still require provisions for putting up a net and adding additional boundary lines to the court. Furrow pointed out if pickleball was to be seriously considered at all, the tennis courts might be just as appropriate, if not more so.
As a result, the committee decided to proceed with opening the basketball court as soon as possible. KAM will arrange the needed security service emphasis and coordinate no towing periods with the baseball and soccer groups along with the Horsemen’s Association. The damaged gate and basketball rims will be repaired or replaced.
The question of pickleball, if suggested from residents who want to play the game, will be handled as a separate consideration. The basketball court will remain a basketball court and, hopefully, it will reopen soon.
In other business, Price announced permits from the City of Houston to proceed with rebuilding the River Grove Park boat dock are in the “final stages” of approval.
“Late Friday the contractor said it could be two weeks to two months based on what he has experienced before so we will see how that goes,” she said. Manthei noted it has been about three months since the application was submitted.
Price, as treasurer of the committee, highlighted the proposed parks budget for 2022 she had prepared for member villages’ review and input. She noted it is similar in total dollars to the current year plan, only with much of the “project” dollars budgeted for this year carried over into 2022. The carry-overs are due to both COVID-19 impacts in 2021 and projects delayed by ongoing construction adjacent to KSA land at the Kingwood Drive and Northpark Drive entrances into Kingwood. The budget will be reviewed by the village associations during August, amended and approved by the Parks committee in September to be submitted for final approval by the KSA board of directors in its quarterly meeting in October.
KSA Parks Committee meetings are open to the public and are normally held the first Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the South Woodland Hills Community Room. However, due to COVID-19 it is expected to be conducted in September as a Zoom conference. Please contact KSA at 281-358-5192 the day before planning to attend to confirm it is a Zoom meeting.