By Leah Leach
Peninsula Daily News
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Depressions and cracks in the court built in the early 1950s send balls flying off in odd directions.
The court has been only patch-repaired since it was constructed and should be resurfaced, said Clayton White, the volunteer host and maintenance supervisor for the Quilcene County Campground on the other side of the community center.
But the owner of the court, Jefferson County, doesn’t have the money to fund the estimated $25,0000 project.
So White is planning a party.
On Feb. 22, he will enlist the help of those who use the court — or who would if it were in good shape — during the kickoff of a campaign to raise money for resurfacing the court.
From noon to 2 p.m. at the sport court, local musicians will provide live music. High school students will bake brownies and other treats. And White will ask for community donations.
“We’re already well on the way,” White said, proudly telling of the $604 he collected “only from sitting at the post office with a little table twice.
“I’m pretty impressed with that,” he added. “I had a lot of people say that if it was fixed up, they would come and play.”
A tax-exempt account has been set up at the Quilcene branch of U.S. Bank for donations, with the Lions Club of Quilcene serving as the nonprofit sponsor of the fundraising campaign.
The county Parks and Recreation Department is supporting the campaign with oversight and fliers.
“We don’t have the funding for this project,” said Matt Tyler, manager of Jefferson County Parks and Recreation.
“I feel it’s a wonderful contribution that he’s planning,” he added.
“It is a really nice, clean and simple project that is really needed in that area.”
White told the county parks and recreation advisory board about his plans Wednesday.
“We authorized him to begin to raise funds,” Tyler said. “When the project comes closer to fruition, we would do an agreement with him to do the project.”
White’s effort is one of several volunteer efforts that have benefited East Jefferson County parks in recent years.
“It’s not unusual anymore,” Tyler said. “It used to be. But since the recession, it’s becoming more of the norm.”
The Friends of East Beach Park restored a shelter and fireplace at the park on Marrowstone Island in 2009.
Local contractor Rich Stapf spearheaded volunteer installation of a new sprinkler system at Memorial Field in Port Townsend in 2010.
In 2012, the Port Townsend Basketball Club, with support from local contractors, led the renovation of a basketball court at Courthouse Park in Port Townsend.
Last year, the Friends of Parks and Recreation rebuilt a picnic shelter at North Beach Park.
And those are only a few examples, Tyler said.
“There’s a trend here. We had the recession hit. The first thing we cut were all of our capital funds. People have stepped up to try to help us because of that.”
County Administrator Philip Morley said in December that the county parks system “has been on life support since November of 2009,” when staff members were laid off, some facilities were closed, and the county asked the public to help.
The sport court project could turn into more than simple resurfacing.
White has been in contact with the U.S. Tennis Association, which has suggested enlarging the tennis portion of the court to an official court size.
Right now, the court is one large area of 110 feet by 120 feet. It is used both for basketball and tennis, with a chain-link fence separating the two areas of play.
To be an official court size, the tennis portion “needs to be another 12 feet on each side and another 21 feet at each end,” White said, adding that he doesn’t know yet whether that will be attempted.
Right now, he’s looking to see the court resurfaced, with depressions filled in, cracks fixed and an inch and a half of new asphalt laid before it is painted with acrylic paint.
White is 65 and doesn’t play much anymore, but he said he feels “it’s a project that needs to be done.”
Donations can be made to the Quilcene Sport Court Fund at the U.S. Bank at 14890 Center Road in Quilcene.
“If anyone is looking for a clean, beneficial project that is really straightforward, this would be a good one to give to,” Tyler said.
And if anyone wants to give to any other project, he has one in mind.
“We’re looking for a donation of a bench at Indian Island Park,” he said.
To contact Tyler, phone 360-385-9129.
To RSVP — not a necessity but a courtesy — to the Feb. 22 party at the sport court or for more information, contact White at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-303-7365.
Managing Editor/News Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3531 or at email@example.com.