No Love for Tennis Courts

This might say something about the status of tennis in the United States. When the Minneapolis Star Tribune ran an interesting article headlined, "Cities ...
by | January 8, 2008
 

Court This might say something about the status of tennis in the United States. When the Minneapolis Star Tribune ran an interesting article headlined, "Cities rethinking costly, crumbling tennis courts," my first reaction was "What took so long?" And I'm a tennis player.

Here's what the Star Tribune reported:

New tennis courts in Richfield? People would rather have walking and biking trails.

In Bloomington, disintegrating tennis courts may revert to grass. And in Minneapolis, at least 39 of the 139 outdoor tennis courts run by the Park and Recreation Board are slated to disappear.

Participation in tennis is actually on the upswing [Ed. note: Get it??]. The problem is that interest in tennis isn't what cities anticipated when they were constructing courts decades ago. Aging courts are expensive to replace. The cost for a pair of courts, according to the Star Tribune, runs from $45,000 to $150,000.

A Minneapolis official told the newspaper that the city is overbuilt on courts and, if Minneapolis is anything like my home town of Arlington, Virginia, he's right.

I've never had the slightest difficulty finding a free court. Nine times out of ten, I don't even have to play with someone else on an adjacent court.

In contrast, on a nice evening, I'll often have to wait a game or two to get onto a basketball court (that's not a bad thing -- much better than having fewer than ten players).

There's actually an upside to fewer courts for tennis players. If parks and recreation departments save money and if they use that money to make sure the remaining courts are well maintained (a fairly big if), I wouldn't ever have to deal with courts that look as though they were built over the San Andreas Fault.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com

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