Tennis courts

Menlo Park reassesses foreclosure on public tennis courts | News

Menlo Park, unlike many neighboring towns (with the exception of Atherton), keeps its public tennis courts under lock and key. It’s a holdover from a bygone era, explained director of community services Derek Schweigart.

Today, in Menlo Park, people have to buy a key if they want to access one of the 15 tennis courts in the city. The policy rates are $ 63 per year for residents and $ 127 for non-residents. Last year, the city sold 530 keys, of which 81% were sold to city residents, 11% to unincorporated residents (who are considered non-residents) and 7% to those who live in another city. The city also offers lower rates for daily key hire, and semi-annual key rates.

In addition to the guideline rates, to reserve a tennis court, residents pay $ 17 per hour, and non-residents pay $ 22 per hour, rates comparable in cost to neighboring towns.

But the key system can be evaluated. Schweigart said he hopes to work with staff over the next few months to survey the tennis community and ask residents what they think of the program. He also hopes to learn more about residents’ interest in the growing sport of pickleball, which uses tennis courts but wears different stripes, he added.

“We know that at Menlo Park we have a very vibrant tennis community and people have high expectations for court maintenance,” he said.

He noted that he had not heard any complaints about the keys.

“I think those who participate in the program may find it to be good value,” he said.

The key system stems from a policy established around 2007 to help the city better recover costs from people accessing certain city services, Schweigart said. Each year, the city approves a main tariff schedule, based on a cost recovery study, the most recent study of which was carried out in 2018. It reports that the city council favors “average cost recovery” or the recovery of costs. 30 to 70% of the total. cost, for the use of tennis courts in the city.

The key program, said Schweigart, helps offset the costs of maintaining the courts. Nets should be repaired, paint redone, bulbs replaced and surfaces pressure washed.

The city spends half of an employee’s salary on tennis court maintenance and maintains a capital improvement program for the courts, he added; the key program and grounds maintenance takes approximately 930 man hours per year. The key system also helps ensure that the courts are used for tennis rather than, say, a handy enclosure for working the dogs, he said.

Schweigart said issues of whether children, adolescents or low-income residents had difficulty accessing the courts because of the key requirement had not been brought to his attention, but he noted that the Kelly Park tennis courts, which are in Belle Haven, the area of ​​town with the most low-income residents, is less popular than other tennis courts although the courts themselves are newer and in good condition.

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