Harker Heights – The City is considering having  joint-use tennis courts with the Killeen Independent School District.  Officials hope to meet November 23 with the school board about the issue.

Recreation officials want to make use of, and possibly enhance, the tennis courts in Eastern Hills Middle School, Harker Heights Parks and Recreation Director Jerry Bark said Tuesday, a week after he shared the department’s plan with the Harker Heights City Council.

“I think the location personally is a good spot,” Bark said Tuesday.  “These courts are set back to where they are only used for tennis and it lends itself to nice tennis play.”

If an agreement is reached, the courts would be for public recreation and for Harkr Heights Parks and Recreation programs, Bark said.  The department also wants to get the school board’s opinion about enhancing the facilities.

Presently there are four full-size tennis courts at the school.

 The city’s ultimate goal would be to add two extra courts at one end and create smaller courts that it could use for youth leagues and its adaptive sports programs, Bark said.  It also wants to resurface the courts, add lighting, and repair and enhance the tennis backboard.  “It is just a plan, but that would be our ultimate desire,” he said.

For Joint-use facilities between the two entities, the city has traditionally paid for upgrades to Killeen Independent School District facilities, such as with Skipcha Elementary Park, but that is one of the many issues Bark will discuss with both the Harker Heights City Council and school board.

The city has not fully investigated the cost of making all the desired improvements, Bark said.

By entering into a joint-use agreement, the city would save money from not having to build courts and also provide an already well known location for tennis, Bark said.  The upgrade would improve the courts for Eastern Hills Middle School students.

Tennis facilities have never been offered by the city.  A residential survey and a Harker Heights Parks and Recreation survey for a parks master plan indicated tennis courts is something residents want.

Providing tennis courts ranked sixth of seven goals for recreational needs for the city, according to the residential survey.

It also ranked in the top 10 in the most recent Harker Heights Parks and Recreation survey, Bark said.

“(Obtaining the facilities) is an attempt to be a well rounded quality of life community,” Bark said.

by Mason Canales,  Killeen Daily Herald