Tennis bubble 'falling down'

The City Council weighs options for replacing center's cover

The Steamboat Springs Tennis Bubble is coming apart a little each day.

Walking around the bubble, it is easy to spot the plastic that has fallen off the outer shell of the tennis bubble, Carol O'Hare said. It is even easier to notice the water sliding down the inside of the bubble when temperatures warm up during the day.

"The tennis bubble has reached the end of its life. It is actually falling down," said O'Hare, chairman of the Tennis Facility Replacement Committee.

After 14 months of meetings, the Tennis Facility Replacement Committee has identified alternatives for replacing the tennis bubble and is asking the City Council for direction.

The committee has taken the alternatives to the city's Tennis Advisory Committee and the Parks and Recreation Committee.

Depending on the direction coming from tonight's council meeting, O'Hare said the group will continue with its research and return to the council with more defined numbers.

When the bubble was built in 1991, it was with state-of-the-art technology, O'Hare said. But over time, Steamboat's heavy snowfall is harsh on the bubble, O'Hare said.

"A bubble really isn't an option," O'Hare said. "There really aren't any bubbles anymore."

The committee, made up of members of the Steamboat Springs Tennis Association and the Tennis Advisory Committee, has identified two options for replacing the bubble -- a rigid permanent structure or a rigid-framed fabric structure.

The frame and fabric alternative comes in under costs, O'Hare said, has a greater life expectancy than the bubble and is more suited for Steamboat's environment.

The city is being asked to spend $5,000 to $10,000 in architectural and engineering fees for the project. The city's long-term capital improvement plan has $1 million budgeted for the project in 2005.

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