Prairie Village to begin charging schools to use tennis courts

Prairie Village is now charging schools to use tennis courts at Harmon Park.
Prairie Village is now charging schools to use tennis courts at Harmon Park.

SM East and other local high schools using the Harmon Park tennis complex for tournaments and practice will now be paying for their access following a decision by the Prairie Village City Council.

The Council voted to begin charging fees to help cover the cost of maintaining the tennis courts and providing special accommodations during tournaments including portable toilets and use of park facilities.

The tournament fee will be $300, and a tennis maintenance fee of $50 per court will be imposed. City officials estimate the maintenance fees alone will generate $1,400 in revenue annually.

SM East will be required to pay $600 annually for the six courts it uses at the complex, Bishop Miege will pay $400 for its four courts, and Kansas City Christian will be charged $400 for its four courts.

Schools had been using the tennis courts for free, and the decision to impose the new fees prompted some debate at the Council meeting.

“Schools are under heavy budget pressure these days,” said Councilmember Eric Mikkelson. “I don’t think we should be charging schools that much more money.”

But Councilmember Terrence Gallagher, chair of the Council Parks & Recreation Committee, said school athletic officials did not object to the new fees at meetings held to discuss the proposal.

“They said they could pay more,” Gallagher said.

School officials could not be reached for comment.

The new tournament fee would cover the cost for portable toilets, access to the tennis shack and reserving the Santa Fe Park Pavilion, according to a staff report.

Groups holding private tournaments also will be required to pay the $300 fee and a $250 refundable deposit to cover any potential damage to the tennis shack or extra trash services.

The Harmon Park tennis courts were described as one of the best tennis complexes in the area and consistently used for Kansas State and Regional High School Tournaments.

The Council voted 9-2 in favor of the new fees. Councilmembers Mikkelson and Dan Runion opposed the fee proposal.