A local tennis group is again pushing for new courts in Keizer’s core.

About 30 people came to a Keizer City Council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 21 to back their plan to install tennis courts at Claggett Creek Park, which stretches between Chemawa Road NE and Dearborn Avenue NE.

Councilors asked city staff to review the matter and bring back a recommendation at a future council meeting, possibly the first one in March.

The Keizer Tennis Association would take the lead in maintaining the courts, with a $50,000 investment from parks systems development charges (SDCs). Those funds have been set aside for several years, said City Manager Chris Eppley.

Their proposal is backed by the Parks Advisory Board, and two of its former members piped up in support.

“This is a project that can provide another recreational amenity for Keizer … for many people of all ages, and can be achieved with minimal funds and in the fairly immediate future,” said Garry Whalen, who was on the board when it recommended the courts.

“I like the Claggett Creek site,” said David Philbrick, another former parks board member. “It is central, convenient and easy to find.”

KTA Treasurer Barb Smith Henke said the four kids’ sites proposed in the project would be the first in the northwest. She said the Boys and Girls Club and Kennedy Elementary School have both voiced support.

Rick Hammerquist, a former president of KTA, said the courts would be of minimal cost to the city, and would also expand parking at Claggett Creek Park by about 20 spots on the Dearborn Avenue side.

“Who can turn down another free recreational opportunity for kids in Keizer?” Hammerquist said.

And Ken LeDuc said councilors could “hang their hat on” such a project, given that this is an election year.

Bob Thompson rode his bike to play tennis as a kid, and wants local children to have the same opportunity.

“I think you owe it to your kids to give them the chance to get started, and not necessarily have to be driven to another location,” Thompson said.

Councilor Jim Taylor is a fan of the idea.

“We would be very remiss if we looked a gift horse in the mouth,” Taylor said, “and here’s a group of people who are very sincere, very organized who want to do something for the people of Keizer.”

Mayor Lore Christopher wants to survey neighbors on nearby 13th Street NE before committing.

“I’m pro-tennis (and) we certainly want to get kids out there and get them moving,” Christopher said. “But we want to be respectful of people on 13th Street, who have lived there for years.”

The group has been seeking tennis courts in Keizer for years. After initially seeking a spot at Keizer Rapids Park, they shifted their focus to Claggett Creek Park. The Keizer City Council at the time was more interested in exploring options at Keizer Rapids Park, and that proposal fizzled out.