December 16, 2010 / Brooklyn news / Meadows of Shame

Hut, hut, HIKE! City mulls raising park and recreation fees

The Brooklyn Paper
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Tennis anyone? — better bring your checkbook.

The cash-strapped city has proposed raising its seasonal permit fees for public tennis courts from $100 to $200 — but tennis players say they’re being gouged for no reason.

“One hundred dollars per year is not a small fee and $200 is outrageous,” said Sean Hoess, founder of McCarren Tennis, a group of local players. “How many people can afford to pay that? It will be nearly impossible for middle income and lower income players to participate, even though all they need is a $40 racket and a $2 can of balls.”

The tennis permit fee is just one part of sweeping increases proposed by the Parks Department for daily and yearly usage of all its fitness centers and pools.

Under the new fee structure, the city’s standard $75 admission fee for annual membership of a recreation center with a pool, such as the Metropolitan Pool, will double to $150. Fees for fitness centers without pools will also double, from $50 to $100.

Recreational tennis players will no doubt feel the pinch, as day passes will increase from $7 to $15 and permits for ball fields are also increasing, from $32 to $50 for fields with lights and from $16 to $25 for fields without lights.

A Parks spokeswoman said that the fee increases, if adopted, would keep the facilities open at their current hours.

“Any fee increases have to go through public process and there has to be time for public hearing,” said the spokeswoman, Vicki Karp. She declined to say which facilities were facing cuts in their operating hours.

Hoess said he would be amenable a slight increase — say 20 percent — but only if a significant percentage of the tennis fees are directly allocated to maintain and repair tennis courts.

This past year, his group has raised tens of thousands of dollars to fix up McCarren Park’s worn down courts — even spending a weekend laying asphalt and repainting one court themselves.

“Not one dime of these tennis fees are allocated to the tennis courts, and the courts are falling apart everywhere in New York except where there is a private group like ours who pays to fix them,” said Hoess.

Updated 5:22 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Rudy Cain from Fort Greene says:
How outrageous, particularly given the
state of the economy as it adversely impacts poor communities. Parks and
other recreational facilities have long
been an accessible haven of escape for
poor and working class communities. Now
they will surely become another exclusive social venue for the elite.
Dec. 16, 2010, 7:16 am
Andrew M from Park Slope says:
So these tennis people raise money themselves, repair the courts themselves, and now the city wants to thank them by DOUBLING the fee they have to pay to play on them? On what planet does that make sense?

Why on earth do people have to play to pay tennis on public courts anyway? I don't have to pay to take my dog to the dog run. Parks should be free.
Dec. 16, 2010, 7:38 am
Mark from Greenpoint says:
"A Parks spokeswoman said that the fee increases, if adopted, would keep the facilities open at their current hours." Uh- what is she talking about? The courts at McCarren are open 24/7.
Oh - Does she mean that they can't afford to pay someone to sit outside the courts and check your permit? Too bad... that would really suck to pay what using those courts is worth: NOTHING!
Why don't they go after the basketball court users, or handball court users, runners and soccer players? They have MUCH nicer facilities then tennis players do.
Tennis should not be relegated to those who can afford it. It should be for all persons. $200 a season is INSANE. 100% increase is absurd ESPECIALLY since the city doesn't maintain ANY of the courts. Ask ANY of the other tennis associations!
Dec. 16, 2010, 10:26 am
Lewis from Williamsburg says:
Why don't they just wall off all the parks in the city like Gramercy Park? Its obvious only the rich and leisured should be using ANY of the park's facilities.
Dec. 16, 2010, 11:07 am
The Dude from Dyker Heights says:
You have to pay to play tennis in a NYC park? I did not know that. I don't play that often, but this is the first I've heard of this. Who enforces these rules? The fat guys in the patrol cars? Just walk away, they can't catch you. Tennis players should actively participate in a little civil disobedience when doled out injustice. Parks are free. We all pay taxes. If something is too expensive to maintain, then don't put it in the park dumba**es.
Dec. 16, 2010, 1:40 pm

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