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New tennis courts needed

Oct. 16, 2013 |

The tennis courts in East Longmeadow are among the agenda items for the upcoming Special Town Meeting on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. at East Longmeadow High School. The six high school courts are very badly in need of work. Three of the courts were constructed in the 1960s; the other three were added in the 1970s. In 1997, a resident in town re-graded and resurfaced the front three courts. Since then, very little has been done to maintain these courts. At present, there are significant cracks – with weeds and grass – on all of the courts. The fence is dangerous and the doors don’t have working latches. These courts are not only an eye sore; they are dangerous and pose a potential liability issue for the town. In their current condition, the high school tennis teams will likely not be able to practice or play home matches on these courts for another season. Recreation department tennis programs could also be in jeopardy. Repairing the cracks and repainting the courts will be expensive and will have limited, if any, guarantees. We’ve had several tennis court construction experts review the site, and all are in agreement that the best course of action is to rebuild the courts. The warrant article asks for a portion of free cash – $325,000 – to be used for court reconstruction. There is also grant money available from the USTA (United States Tennis Association) to assist in the funding of the project. Further, the East Longmeadow Tennis Association (ELTA) has committed $30,000 to the project. We need to act now before someone gets hurt, and while these potential other sources of income are available to help defray the costs of this project. As you might be aware, there is also a schools facility review in town – which may eventually lead to a rebuilding of the high school itself. We have been assured by the architects and Superintendent Smith that newly constructed courts will not be impacted by any future school building plans. The residents in East Longmeadow – including the high school teams – deserve newer, safer courts on which to enjoy this life-long game. Imagine your family enjoying tennis on beautiful new courts in your hometown. We need new tennis courts. Please come out on Oct. 21 and vote yes to save tennis in East Longmeadow. For further information, visit www.eltennis.org. Trupti and Mrinal Mali Karen and Michael Myers Cindy and Sam Pizzanelli Maria and Frank Tilli East Longmeadow

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