Russell Gardens hires landscape architect for tennis court drainage

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Russell Gardens hires landscape architect for tennis court drainage
Russell Gardens Mayor Steve Kirschner, right, swears Trustees Matthew Ellis and David Miller into another term. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

The Village of Russell Gardens has hired a landscape architect to design a new drainage system for the village tennis courts, according to the village maintenance report, as part of repairs set to take place at the end of the tennis season.

Michael Jurcsak, the village’s maintenance supervisor, wrote in the report that the village hired Richard Gibney, a landscape architect, to “design a drainage system to catch and separate the rainwater from the clay” of the courts.

He would also be responsible for designing the court’s asphalt pathway, surface re-grade, fencing and envision the irrigation system, the report said.

Once this design work is done, the report goes on to say, he would “make the bid package to hire the appropriate contractors to do the work.”

According to the report, the walls of two “catch basins” on the right side of the courts holding water have been “clogged with clay deposits” and thus not draining.

“I’m here 40 years and they haven’t been restored since then… It’s the original clay from when the village courts were put in,” Mayor Steve Kirschner said when asked about the last time the courts were renovated.

Among the major infrastructure changes planned for the three courts, once owned by the Russell Gardens Association, would be putting down new clay and installing a more sophisticated drainage system to reduce runoff.

The tennis courts first came to be in 1930 and, for most of its 88-year history, was managed by the local homeowners association. The village then purchased it in 2013 in hopes of improving the tennis courts.

“The association that owned it didn’t have the financial wherewithal to do anything other than just keep pounding it down, so the clay just got harder,” Kirschner said previously.

In unrelated village business, Kirschner swore in trustees David Miller and Matthew Ellis, who each secured 26 votes in the March 20 elections and have served since 2012, into their fourth terms.

Kirschner also discussed a resolution that provides some health insurance coverage for a handful of retirees and their spouses, as part of “contractual obligations made many moons ago” and following state law.

Kirschner estimated the cost to be around $1,400 to $1,500 per person for reimbursement, plus paying for secondary coverage.

“Medicare covers them primarily and we pay secondary, so we don’t pay what we would normally pay for an individual, which might be 12, 13,000 dollars when you’re working,” Kirschner said, adding that this is an obligation every municipality has.

In other business, Russell Gardens trustees made note of a Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on Monday, April 16, regarding 30 Wensley Drive and an establishment for 255 Northern Boulevard.

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