~ PVN staff report
LURAY, Oct. 25 — During their late October work session, members of the Luray Council discussed the potential for building multiple courts for multiple sports at Ralph Dean Park. Local residents interested in more facilities for tennis and the fast-growing sport of pickleball have approached the town about a potential partnership to fund the recreational project.
Several options were considered — some focusing just on tennis and pickleball courts, which is the focus of those private citizens willing to donate money to the project; and some adding a basketball court. Council members noted that the only public basketball court in Luray offered by the Town is located at Lake Arrowhead, which consists of a mounted hoop and a dirt court.
Luray Elementary School has a basketball court adjacent to its playground that is often used after hours by local residents, but that belongs to and is maintained by Page County Public Schools. A basketball court is planned for the future park at the West Luray Rec Center, but that is still in developmental stages.
The American Legion offers a tennis court for public use adjacent to Inn Lawn Park. While it can also be used for pickleball, the court is not set up for “official” tournament play. Council members in Shenandoah have previously discussed upgrading their tennis courts to accommodate pickleball tournaments. Earlier this year, the Stanley Council heard a presentation on the fast-growing sport and the potential tourist draw of hosting tournaments. Now, Luray Council members are also discussing the potential for such facilities for both locals and visitors alike.
Luray Council members seemed to reach a consensus during their Oct. 25 work session that if the project moves forward, it should include at least one court for each of the three sports discussed. Costs are estimated at between $350,000 and $400,000 to construct a basketball court, tennis court and two or more pickleball courts. Pickleball, while similar to tennis, requires less space.
The Town plans to leverage the private donations verbally committed by citizens — up to $200,000 — and match it with the federal funds available through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
Other optional costs that may be sought through donations could include benches, picnic tables and other amenities. Initial discussion does not call for lights, and the facility would shut down at dusk, just as the park itself does.
The issue is expected to appear on the Luray Council’s Nov. 14 meeting agenda for further discussion.