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Tennis Facility Running on $80,000 Deficit

Village officials, CBRAC brainstorm ways to close the gap during ongoing budget talks.

The facility currently brings in $380,000 in revenue while expenses total $460,000.
The facility currently brings in $380,000 in revenue while expenses total $460,000.
The village's tennis facility needs an influx of memberships to help offset a major deficit, according to village auditor Jim Olivo.

The facility currently brings in $380,000 in revenue while expenses total $460,000. "You can't keep doing that," Olivo said.

"If we keep running an $80,000 deficit that's not a good thing," trustee Dennis Donnelly added. "There's only two sides to this - revenues and expense. How do we get that closer?

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Kevin Ocker, chairman of the Board of Commissioners for Recreational and Cultural Affairs, said the facility is "fine" and those who join are "happy with it" but perhaps the department could step up its marketing efforts. "We'll have to look at it," he said during budget talks this month.

Citizens Budget Review & Advisory Committee (CBRAC) member Linda Ryan said in talking with many of the women she plays tennis with, they'd like to see the department purchase a ball machine and create a list serve.

"They all said they'd love something like that," she said. "It could be something you subscribe to and you can mix and match with people in the village you don't know. But if there's available court time, which I assume there is, it would fill some of those hours."

Finance chair and trustee Andrew Cavanaugh thought Ryan's suggestion was worth looking into. "What a wonderful idea," he said.

Ocker said it's hard to put his finger on it when asked if the sluggish economy was to blame. Edward Fronckwicz, assistant superintendent of recreation, said 20 years ago when the facility first opened weekends were full. Of late, the facility has seen a real "dip" in weekend play.

"You hate to say it but many are passing on," Fronckwicz said.

Ryan, who uses the facility often, said down time could be offered at a reduced rate to encourage people who otherwise wouldn't play.

Trustee Dennis Donnelly asked whether Ocker considered marketing it to those living outside the village. Ryan, however, didn't agree with that suggestion. "No don't do that," she said.

Judy Courtney, a resident of the East who serves as president of the Eastern Property Owners' Association (EPOA), said the idea is worth looking into.

"I would appreciate looking at that and seeing whether or not that's a viable option," she said. "It does concern me that a facility we have is running at such a loss and has been for a number of years. There are opportunities there and while we do have members who use it who may or may not welcome that I do think it's probably an option we should look at."

Do you think opening the tennis facility to non-village residents is a viable option? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Dan Debold February 19, 2013 at 06:07 PM
Why not develop inter-club league play with other enclosed tennis facilities, like Mid-Island and Rockville Racquets. The Garden City Recreation Platform Tennis courts at Community Park are very busy during their season. What really drives the court usage is the League play. We find that with the courts are very busy with both the Men's League (LIPTA )and the Women's League (LIIPTL). Two night per week are dedicated for league play. Typically, the more active teams and players also practice (use the courts) at least once more each week. Some players take lessons during the remaining available court hours to help improve their league play.
Bill Sweeney February 19, 2013 at 09:36 PM
There should also be marketing and pricing like a club...racquet memberships mean unlimited use for tennis and paddle. Then you can add the pool to that as well. Make it more of a club and make it an easier pricing model and more people will be inclined to give it a shot, especially if marketed as such.
Jack O'Niel February 20, 2013 at 01:58 PM
I don't know, 80k doesn't seem like all that much to me. Considering how much everything else costs this is small potatoes.
Publius February 20, 2013 at 05:09 PM
I like Bill's suggestion.
Bill Sweeney February 20, 2013 at 05:12 PM
Thanks...plus it would make planning, etc. much more predictable. Now, you never know...it snows 12 in and you're out for a week. This way, you kind of know. This would also further justify the new clubhouse that is being bandied about for phase 2. Perhaps a nice fitness center could be included as well..and 2 more paddle courts (disclosure, I play for the Rec and it's fantastic). You can rename the facility the Garden City Village Club.
jeanm February 20, 2013 at 08:56 PM
Please don't open it to outside residents! There's already a percentage of nonresidents who play in groups now. It's limited to a certain amount - not sure what it is. I play there regularly, and opening up the membership could cause problems with preferred hours, lessons, and courts. What about reallocating some staff to other village departments? That should close the gap. A number of years ago, a group of women attended a village recreation meeting requesting playing time during the day in thesummer months. Tennis camps for children were scheduled every day, eliminating adult play. The request was denied, and we all found alternative sites to play. It may be too late, but sponsoring adult summer clinics may increase revenue. I also like the idea of forming teams. The country clubs in town participate in the North Shore League and the Interclub League which include levels C2 - A1. Participants pay a fee to play and to receive weekly coaching by a pro. Something to think about.......
Bill Sweeney February 20, 2013 at 09:14 PM
No way...residents only! They let outsiders into paddle when it was starting up and there are enough now...and it makes play time for the residents much less b/c of it. I do love the idea of having full and half day summer camps for kids as well...perhaps there's room for another pool?
Steve F May 02, 2013 at 11:19 PM
I never even heard of this place and I have been living here for years. What's the deal?