By Connor Keating / Staff Writer
The Hutchinson Community College tennis courts are an eyesore. The fence around them is covered in dead vines, of the five courts two of them don’t have nets, and the surface is covered in long stretches of canyon-like cracks that run right through the courts.
It also doesn’t look appealing next to the community garden and blue fountain pond. The college has been trying to figure out what to do with them. The courts are used by the college’s daycare for the children to play on, the baseball team has used them for throwing drills, and students use it as a shortcut.
One solution to the problem of the abandoned tennis courts is to demolish them, and perhaps expand the pond.
The pond is a jewel between Gowans Stadium and the tennis courts, so expanding it over the tennis court could make the area more eye appealing, but what if it was taken a step further?
Kansas is a mainly rural state, so many people who have grown up here have probably passed by a body of water and wondered, “Can I fish that?”
Currently, the pond has a few species of sunfish, but a few larger fish also lurk under its blue ripples.
There are “no walking on the ice” signs, but there are no “no fishing” signs.
So what if with this expansion, fishing was promoted? Stocking the pond with more typically targeted species like bass and catfish.
“Your average largemouth, smallmouth bass, crappie, bluegill, and maybe for night time, some people are into catfishing, so maybe some small channel cat,” said Carter Kreger, Wichita freshman. “Those are generally the common species people stock their ponds with. They keep each other’s populations in check.”
There still could be concerns with this. Fishing can cause litter, and snags are almost inevitable. When casting, hooking the person behind you or casting toward someone can also cause worry. Then there’s the fish themselves, people worried about them being kept for food, people against the idea of fishing, and of course how much would stocking a pond with fish cost.
Cody Flax, Culver sophomore, likes the idea on paper, but acknowledges many potential problems with it.
“The issues I could see with it are, one, it’d be overfished, so there would be no actual nice sizable fish to catch, cause you can say ‘catch-release’ for the pond, but there’s a good chance no one will throw all of them back,” Flax said, “Two, you’d have to have someone that would police the pond for size limits. It would be nice, but at the same time there’s those issues there, and there’s also the issue of expanding it, that’s more water area that someone could fall into and have an injury or drown. So that’s another liability you’d have to think about.”Making the campus pond larger and promoting fishing sounds like a great idea, but there are potential problems.