Cov­er­ing pro­posed for Plaza ten­nis courts When iPads in­tro­duced, 200,000 could be sold

The Kansas City Star (Sunday) - - FROM THE COVER | - By LYNN HORS­LEY Bloomberg News

A sea­sonal fab­ric dome would en­close six Coun­try Club Plaza ten­nis courts in win­ter, al­low­ing year-round play, un­der a pro­posal pre­sented Tues­day to the Kansas City Board of Parks and Recre­ation Com­mis­sion­ers.

“This is a great win­ter­time op­por­tu­nity for fit­ness,” said Steve Stroud, as­so­ciate ath­let­ics di­rec­tor for the Uni­ver­sity of Mis­souri-Kansas City, which would be a part­ner in the ven­ture with the Kansas City United Ten­nis pro­gram.

The 36-foot high fab­ric “bub­ble” would be in­stalled over the six south­ern-most courts at the Plaza Ten­nis Cen­ter from Oc­to­ber through March. The uni­ver­sity and KC United would share the $500,000 up­front cost, plus on­go­ing main­te­nance, staffing and event costs. They were ask­ing the city Parks and Recre­ation De- part­ment to han­dle setup, take­down and sea­sonal stor­age.

Parks of­fi­cials said the depart­ment had avail­able stor­age space, but Di­rec­tor Mark McHenry said the city would have to make sure the dome would con­form ar­chi­tec­turally to the Plaza Area Plan. The city also would have to re­solve any po­ten­tial en­gi­neer­ing or struc­tural is­sues with hav­ing the dome in a flood plain.

Parks board mem­bers were non­com­mit­tal ex­cept for Com­mis­sioner Ag­gie Stack­haus, who said she had ques­tions and con­cerns. She noted that park staff mem­bers were over­worked, and she ques­tioned the use of their time to put up and take down the dome.

Parks of­fi­cials said the pro­posal would need more in­ves­ti­ga­tion and dis­cus­sion be­fore it could go to a parks board vote. To reach Lynn Hors­ley, call 816-234-4317 or send e-mail to lhors­[email protected]­star.com.

When it comes to pre­dict­ing how many iPads Ap­ple Inc. will sell this week­end, Piper Jaf­fray & Co. an­a­lyst Gene Mun­ster has lit­tle com­pany among Wall Street an­a­lysts.

In the weeks be­fore Ap­ple be­gan sell­ing the iPhone in 2007, an­a­lysts and tech­nol­ogy pun­dits prog­nos­ti­cated about how many would be snapped up in the first few days. With the iPad, Mun­ster is es­ti­mat­ing first week­end sales of 200,000 — a fig­ure some of his ri­vals said would be too dif­fi­cult to pre­dict.

The stick­ing point: It’s un­clear how con­sumers will re­spond to the iPad, an un­tested cat­e­gory of com­puter that’s big­ger than a smart phone and less pow­er­ful than a lap­top. Ap­ple is also of­fer­ing mul­ti­ple ver­sions of the de­vice, though only three on day one.

“This is a big rev­o­lu­tion­ary de­vice, but it’s a new mar­ket,” said Katy Hu­berty at Mor­gan Stan­ley in New York. “A lot of po­ten­tial con­sumers are still ques­tion­ing what it may be used for.”

In­vestors look to new prod­ucts from Ap­ple CEO Steve Jobs to spur sales and profit, which reached a record last quar­ter on de­mand for the iPhone and Mac­in­tosh com­puter. An­tic­i­pa­tion for the iPad, which goes on sale Satur­day, helped drive Ap­ple stock to an all-time high Tues­day of $237.48. Shares closed at $235.84, up $3.45.

Mun­ster, who has rec­om­mended buy­ing Ap­ple shares since June 2004, ex­pects iPad sales of 2.8 mil­lion in 2010.

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