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Competitive tennis could come to LA

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By Tris DeRoma

The Parks and Recommendation Board has recommended approval for competitive tennis to come to Los Alamos.

The ball is now literally in the Los Alamos Public School’s court when it comes to having U.S. Tennis Association sanctioned competitions and high school tournaments in Los Alamos.

At a Nov. 7 County Council work session, Parks and Recreation Board Chair Melanee Hand said any solution for achieving this goal will involve a partnership with the schools. The schools not only have the courts, but the space needed to create regulation courts.

The recommendation will now go before County Council.

Besides expansion possibilities, the Parks and Recreation board was asked by the County Council in January to assess the county’s eight tennis facilities for usage, repurposing, improvement and consolidation.

According to the USTA, five courts are needed for USTA adult matches, six courts are needed for USTA matches and for high school and middle school, eight courts are needed for boys and courts teams playing on adjacent courts, and the New Mexico Activities Association recommends 12 court facilities for high school tournaments.

A report to the council from the Parks and Recreation Board recommended that “the interscholastic eight court tennis complex discussion be added to the FY (fiscal year) work plan so that timely partnership opportunities coincide with future funding priorities,” the board said in its report.

Of the eight facilities, the tennis courts at Urban Park have the highest number of courts, with four.

However, Hand told the board that it’s the courts that are on school property that offer the most practical route to expansion and perhaps tournament play.

“We have many tennis courts out there already. They are all over the community, it’s not something you don’t know already.” Hand told the council. “There are some slight opportunities for some of these areas, however, the areas we think offer the most opportunity happen to be school property, and that is part of the dilemma. If we we’re looking at expansion, the school property is the best location and right now we’re not having enough collaboration with the schools to move forward in that area.”  

The board further recommended the tennis courts in Pinon Park may have the best chance for expansion, since it already had other amenities attached to it. 

The courts at Pinon Park has dedicated parking, a pavilion, restrooms and is next to the skate park and the White Rock Library. The board also assessed the court surfaces and the vinyl fencing to be in good conditions. The three courts on the property also have lighting.

Other areas discussed during the hearing included Sullivan Field off of Diamond.

“I strongly encourage all of us to try to work together with the schools to make that a reality,” Councilor Chris Chandler said. “...I think it’s an important priority in trying to get our arms around the court situation.”

The Parks and Recreation Board’s next steps will be to have a conversation with the Los Alamos Public Schools about their plan and the proposal they’ve come up with. Parks and Recreation will then include a more detailed proposal in its Fiscal Year 2019 Plan, which it will present to a council subcommittee in late spring 2018 for recommendation and approval.