Assemblywoman Demboski open to vote change on divisive tennis courts

Nathaniel Herz

An Anchorage assemblywoman is asking for reconsideration of one of the two tennis court spending plans that the Assembly voted down at its meeting Tuesday -- a significant step towards breaking a two-month-old impasse on the issue.

Assemblywoman Amy Demboski has moved to revive a measure that would put $6.5 million of $10.5 million in state grant money towards renovations to city ice arenas, and $4 million towards a recreation center that would house indoor tennis courts.

Her support could amount to a decisive sixth vote on the 11-member Assembly. But the plan would still need to be tweaked to win her approval, the Chugiak/Eagle River lawmaker said in a phone interview Thursday.

The plan Demboski revived is opposed by Mayor Dan Sullivan and tennis advocates, who want to see more money go towards the courts.

Demboski was one of six votes against the measure on Tuesday night. But Wednesday afternoon, she said she had reconsidered after discussions with an official from the city's parks department, who told her that scheduled work for city hockey arenas could not go ahead without Assembly action.

Demboski said she had two ideas for amendments to the spending plan. She wouldn't divulge the details, but generally, she said one of her ideas was "focused on maintenance," while the other is one that "the tennis people may like."

The measure will be up for a vote at the Assembly's next meeting, on Dec. 17. Members will also consider a competing measure, sponsored by Sullivan, that would spend $7.2 million on the recreation center.

Sullivan's measure differs little from a spending plan that was defeated Tuesday evening. But he said at a news conference Wednesday that he still expected the measure to get support.

"Common sense ultimately will prevail," he said.

Reach Nathaniel Herz at or 257-4311.