In a rather gutsy move, Anchorage Sen. Lesil McGuire has officially entered into the controversial tennis court debate by requesting that the Senate Finance Committee, which drafts the capital budget, re-appropriate the $7 million dollars to be used for courts. She wants that money to go to the Anchorage Loussac Library instead.
The tennis court project has been pushed by Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan. Both he and McGuire are running to be the GOP nominees for lieutenant governor. It’s unclear who, or if, any of the senators on the committee will offer the amendment. Protocol would dictate that either Anchorage Sens. Hollis French, Anna Fairclough, or Kevin Meyer do so.
One thing is clear: it puts the project back into the public glare. Also, McGuire is chair of the Senate Rules Committee, which wields a tremendous amount of power.
The tennis issue has “drawn a great deal of criticism, divided the Anchorage Assembly and served to drive a wedge into our community,” McGuire wrote in a memo to the committee. She also blamed the controversy on failure of the public to vote on an April 1 library improvement bond measure.
The $7 million is part of a $37 million appropriation that was intended to be used on “critical and deferred maintenance” on buildings built in the 1980s. Sullivan has pushed to have the $7 million go to a new tennis court, to be built in the Turnagain neighborhood, where he lives.
McGuire said that the money is “necessary to protect the State’s original investment in this facility.”
Read the full memo here.
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