The Hawks Foundation approached the city in March with the idea of granting it $25,000 to build two basketball courts at a city park. However, city officials have been unable to decide which park to construct the courts at or even how to fund the balance of the project.
Members of the Kennesaw City Council discussed the matter Wednesday night during a work session agenda meeting.
Assistant City Manager Jeff Drobney told the council that a number of project deadlines were fast approaching and that it was highly unlikely the city could meet them. The grant contract stipulates that a contractor would need to be selected by Wednesday, construction was expected to begin May 14 and a ribbon-cutting was scheduled in early July, he said.
“For the construction of new basketball courts, that’s not something we could meet,” Drobney said. “The amount of time would be three to four weeks before that could be properly bid, reviewed and be put out.”
The Atlanta Hawks Foundation creates programs and forms partnerships with local agencies to provide opportunities for physical fitness and recreation. In March, the organization first approached the city with the idea of building collegiate-size basketball courts in the city, which lacks public courts.
A call to the Atlanta Hawks organization was not returned.
Because Adams Park off Watts Drive is the center of the city’s athletic programs and summer camps and is home to a community center, it was decided that it would be a better option than the larger Swift-Cantrell Park on Old Highway 41.
However, the council has been unable to agree on whether to turn the existing Adams Park tennis courts into the basketball courts or go with a more expensive option, which would be to construct entirely new basketball courts there. It would cost between $21,000 and $23,000 to turn the tennis courts into basketball courts and between $79,000 and $84,000 to build new basketball courts, including fencing and lighting.
Time was lost in obtaining cost estimates on the two options and negotiating a contract with the Hawks Foundation, Drobney said.
Funding would be available through the 2011 SPLOST to relocate the tennis courts to Swift-Cantrell Park, but not at Adams Park, Drobney said. It was also mentioned that Kennesaw Mountain High School could serve as the temporary home for public tennis if new tennis courts were added to Swift-Cantrell Park.
While Mayor Mark Mathews and the five council members agreed Wednesday that public basketball courts are needed in the city and that the opportunity presented by the Hawks Foundation is a good one, they were unable to decide on a plan of action.
Councilwoman Cris Eaton-Welsh said the city could possibly find private donors if it had another month to consider the project, but that the current options presented were not fiscally acceptable.
“I know that this is a great foundation, they’ve done a super job in other communities,” Councilman Bruce Jenkins said. “But I’d like to see some other alternatives and places we could look at to get that into the budget.”
The matter will be taken up again at the Kennesaw City Council meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday.