Don’t plan on kicking a soccer ball around Mint Valley Racquet and Fitness Club in the foreseeable future.
The Longview Parks and Recreation Advisory Board made as much clear Monday night at its monthly meeting, which was overflowing with organized support for the status quo at Mint Valley.
“This oil and vinegar probably won’t mix well,” board chairman Tim Temples said.
He made it clear several times during the constituent comments section of the meeting that a proposal to refit the building for indoor soccer was just that, a proposal, and the city is not moving forward with any plans to change operations at Mint Valley.
A grant application submitted in February by soccer advocate and city employee Josh Johnson came in after deadline, and so wouldn’t have proceeded this year.
The proposal, which sought grant money to launch a feasibility study to look at the expansion of public indoor sporting opportunities, targeted Mint Valley as a site for a new, expanded or renovated complex. The pitch outlined options for indoor soccer, a walking/jogging track, climbing walls and other changes that would have coexisted with the tennis courts.
At least 50 people attended the meeting, with nearly a dozen speaking in favor of keeping things as they are at the city-owned tennis, racquetball, pickleball and fitness center. Applause followed many of the comments in support of the tennis community.
Don Harlan, the contractor and tennis pro in charge of Mint Valley, spoke toward the end of the meeting and said a plan drawn up by Johnson would prohibit indoor tennis by changing the orientation of the tennis courts, which would leave some of them without adequate overhead space for lobs. Harlan also said he had canceled a $20,000 investment in new cardio exercise equipment pending any changes from the city.
Johnson spoke in favor of his proposal, saying tennis and other indoor sports are “not mutually exclusive,” and that he would like to see all sides work together to expand indoor sports in Longview.
Following comments from the crowd, Temples repeated that “there is no change to the status quo,” and that proposals for a multi-sport indoor building should seek other sites.
Brooks Johnson covers Longview city government for The Daily News. Reach him at 360-577-7828 or firstname.lastname@example.org.