NEIGHBORS of a new South Bronx tennis club on city parkland say its high prices are not courting locals, who can’t afford to pay up to $80 an hour to swat a ball over a net, according to the New York Daily News.
The courts at the Gotham Stadium Tennis Center, “were not built for us,” said Joyce Hogi, 67, who lives on the Grand Concourse. “They were not built for the community.”
The 16 tennis courts — 12 of them housed in a large bubble — are in Mill Pond Park on the Harlem River, north of 149th St.
Run by NY Tennis at Mill Pond, a private company under contract with the Parks Department, the indoor courts cost $32 to $80
Nabe complains it’s shut out an hour, depending on time and
“We want to be a good community partner,” said Joel Kassan of NY Tennis.
After the bubble is taken down in May, NY Tennis will use four courts for outdoor lessons. Parks spent $16 million to build the courts and renovate a historic park building, set to acommodate a Gotham Stadium clubhouse and cafe, said NY Tennis partner Mike DelPrete.
The clubhouse, opening soon, will include locker rooms and a lounge with wireless Internet.
“It’s not a private club, but it feels like one,” said Kassan.
NY Tennis chipped in more than $2 million for the bubble, clubhouse and cafe. But Anita Atonetty, 53, of Highbridge, fumed that, “This is tax dollars for a private company.”
While Kassan said he hopes to draw players from the Bronx, he also expects business from Manhattan’s upper East Side and New Jersey.
“The courts are only 15 minutes by car from the upper East Side,” he said. “We expect
people to come across the George Washington Bridge.”
Mill Pond Park was built after the new Yankee Stadium erased more than 22 acres of local green space, including a tennis facility at Mullaly Park, where indoor courts were $34 to $64 an hour.
“The original courts were in the middle of the community,” said Geoffrey Croft of New York City Park Advocates. “These are a mile away in an industrial area.”
Killian Jordan of the Grand Concourse thinks NY Tennis has the right to turn a profit. But Jordan, 64, said the costly facility may not benefit “some 14-year-old kid from the South Bronx who could be the next Arthur Ashe.”
But the tennis court operators countered that free programs run by the New York Junior Tennis League and City Parks Foundation will serve local players.
Court Not Playing Ball
Nabe complains it's shut out
New York Daily News - November 2, 2010 - By Daniel Beekman