After hours of public debate, the Anchorage Assembly voted to hold off on making a funding decision on a multi-million dollar recreation facility until November 5.
The State Legislature set aside $10.5 million for construction of the Northern Lights Recreation Center, which would house tennis, badminton and basketball courts. The money would be spent through the “Project 80’s” budget, which is normally used to fund repairs and improvements to the Sullivan Arena, Performing Arts Center and the Anchorage Museum.
“Why is a brand new stand-alone building, energy efficient, being bought and paid for out of dollars that are supposed to be allocated to 'Project 80s,'” Assemblyman Adam Trombley asked supporters of the project during Tuesday’s meeting.
Proponents of the project say current tennis facilities used by middle and high school students are inadequate. They say the new recreation center would be open to anyone who wants to play tennis, and user fees would help generate revenue for tennis teams.
“What we're fighting for here is a generation of young tennis players and champions,” said Alaska Tennis Association President Scott Kohlhaas. “Ladies and gentleman if we lose this money, if we give this money back to the state; I believe we'll lose these courts."
The Turnagain Community Council voted 10-4 to support a sports facility in their neighborhood.