To the editor:
As a resident of Wayzata, I urge the city council to oppose the alterations to Klapprich Park and Bell Courts proposed in the Parks and Trails Master Plan (which will be considered by the council Tuesday, June 18).
For nearly 65 years, Klapprich Park and Field has been a beloved, year-round sanctuary for residents and visitors alike. I fear the excessive changes will dramatically disrupt the park’s delicate balance of natural serenity with group activities. Of the myriad of modifications proposed, the construction of platform tennis courts is among my chief concerns. I urge the council to consider the following aesthetic and logistical issues associated with platform tennis courts:
• Visually, platform tennis courts are intrusive. Their high fence walls and lights detract from the parks natural beauty.
• Platform tennis generates a considerable amount of noise, particularly during winter months when no foliage is present to absorb the sound.
• The placement of the courts directly next to a playground will cause safety concerns, as children will undoubtedly try to play on it. In addition, the game itself also carries one of the highest sports injury rates. A study done by Midwest Orthopedics found that 66% of platform tennis players have sustained an injury, and 55% sustained more than one injury.
• It is difficult to imagine in scenario in which a $200,000 investment into platform tennis would be beneficial to the community as a whole when you consider the limited physical and age demographics the sport attracts.
I believe that maintaining and improving the public spaces and parks is something that all Wayzata residents welcome. However, when deciding on a suitable course of action, one must consider not only the what, but also the why. Are these changes designed to increase the appeal of an already highly desirable neighborhood? That seems unlikely and unnecessary. Or, are they designed to bring more non-residents to the area? If so, shouldn’t these attractions be placed closer to Wayzata’s many shops and restaurants (i.e. Shaver Park) in the hopes of increasing revenue for our local businesses?
While I am all in favor of improvements to our parks, I firmly believe that any changes should be done in a thoughtful, deliberate and inclusive manner.