Glendale High to supplement lost tennis courts

CITY HALL — In an effort to provide another option to residents upset about the loss of the Central Park tennis courts to the new Adult Recreation Center project, the City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a joint-use agreement allowing public access to Glendale High School tennis courts.

The agreement with the Glendale Unified School District includes $900,000 in city renovations to the school's six courts. The council also approved an $86,284 contract with David Volz Design to prepare design and construction documents for the renovations.

Glendale Unified has agreed to contribute $175,000 to the project.

“I think these will be used by the same people who went to the Central Park courts over the years,” Mayor Frank Quintero said.

Parks officials said they hope to have the renovations completed by spring 2010. The courts will be open to the public from 6 to 10 p.m. during the week and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the weekends.

The court updates will include parking improvements, new restrooms, energy-efficient lighting, disabled access and court resurfacing.

The loss of the tennis courts at Central Park was a contentious component of the new $7.92-million Adult Recreation Center, which called for the demolition of the courts.

Tennis players attended multiple council meetings to fight for the downtown courts, which they argued were a vital recreational resource.

But senior service advocates and city officials said the courts were a necessary trade-off for the new center, which would replace the outdated and dilapidated facility that now serves an aging population.

None of the longtime opponents to the project appeared at the meeting Tuesday to speak out against the plan.

The project received initial approval at an October special joint meeting of the City Council and Glendale Unified School District Board of Education.

With the use of the high school courts, city officials said they hope to provide a viable alternative for downtown tennis players, a requirement as part of the Adult Recreation Center's environmental approval.

“This is a good way to pick up some of the needs for recreational tennis courts,” said Councilman John Drayman.

City parks offer a total of 37 tennis courts, including eight at Fremont Park. The alternative proposal to opening the high school courts was to add two courts at Fremont Park, which officials deemed the less desirable option.

While council members were very supportive of the agreement, they conveyed minor concerns to park officials. Councilman Dave Weaver said he hoped that the construction would not interfere with school activities.

And Quintero said he didn't want intensified use of the school courts to translate into an increased strain on the already heavily congested Glenwood Road.

Still, the new tennis court plan won broad praise from the council as long overdue.

“These are going to be state-of-the-art facilities,” Quintero said.


?MELANIE HICKEN covers City Hall. She may be reached at (818) 637-3235 or by e-mail at melanie.hicken@latimes.com.

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