Parks crew uncovers 50-year-old tennis practice wall at Alice Sweet Thomas Park

City, historical society considering possibility of restoring wall

Rylee Dunn
rdunn@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 1/23/23

A parks maintenance crew in Arvada stumbled upon a historical artifact recently when they uncovered a 50-year-old tennis practice wall at Alice Sweet Thomas Park while performing regular maintenance.

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Parks crew uncovers 50-year-old tennis practice wall at Alice Sweet Thomas Park

City, historical society considering possibility of restoring wall

Posted

A parks maintenance crew in Arvada stumbled upon a historical artifact recently when they uncovered a 50-year-old tennis practice wall at Alice Sweet Thomas Park while performing regular maintenance. Arvada’s Director of Vibrant Communities and Neighborhoods Enessa Janes said her department was considering the possibility of restoring the wall.

Janes said the wall was discovered during renovation of the tennis courts at Alice Sweet Thomas Park. A team was removing damaged siding and exposed the wood paneling underneath it, revealing the old practice wall.

“I’m not familiar with the historical significance,” Janes said. “The tennis courts were built in 1974; we have parks maintenance workers who’ve been here for three decades — this was a surprise. My hunch is it’s been covered up for a long time.

“It’s very cool and retro-looking,” Janes continued. “The unique look of the wall has generated interest into the city's plan.”

Janes said that plan is still up in the air. The wall is assembled using a tongue and groove method, which generally requires a more unique skill set to restore. Janes added that some of the wood has rotten and would have to be replaced. The wall was likely used to practice tennis individually.

“Right now, we’re exploring and gathering information to determine how much it would cost to restore the wood to a lasting condition,” Janes said. “The original plan was to remove the siding and put up new siding, but when we discovered the wood, we wanted to see how much it’d cost to fix it.”

Janes said that, unlike neighboring cities, Arvada doesn’t have designated funding for parks, historic preservation and trails, so when surprise projects like this come up, the department has to weigh it with other priorities.

“Parks compete against streets and utilities for resources,” Janes said. “It’s not as easy as just fixing it as it might be in other communities who do have that funding.”

For their part, Arvada Historical Society President Karen Miller said the organization would take a look at the wall and see if they could pitch in to help.

“We would at least want to look at it and see if we can round up some people that maybe could help restore it,” Miller said.

alice sweet thomas, tennis, history, arvada

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