MONTCLAIR, NJ – The Mountainside Tennis Courts are officially open after getting a makeover. In an official ribbon-cutting ceremony, First Ward Councilor Bill Hurlock opened the tennis courts Friday morning among a cadre of colleagues and supporters.
Along with Councilor Hurlock, Mayor Robert Jackson, Second Ward Councilor Robin Schlager, Township Manager Marc Dashield, Director of Recreation and Cultural Affairs Pat Brechka, Montclair High School Director of Athletics Jeff Gannon, William Scott and other Members of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Montclair High School Varsity tennis players and several others were also in attendance.
In 2008, during the height of the 'financial crisis', three of the Mountainside Tennis courts had been 'decommissioned' by the town due to poor conditions and limited funding. Then in 2011, under a previous council administration, as the nation and many towns began to financially recover, the councilmembers continued to deliberate over whether or not to approve funding for improvements to the Mountainside tennis courts and no action was taken at that time.
When Mayor Jackson, First Ward Councilor Hurlock and the current administration were elected in 2012, funding for the Mountainside Tennis courts was appropriated. The beautification effort was approved in April of 2014 when the Township Council approved a resolution allocating $317,475 in funding to replace three tennis courts, resurface four tennis courts and the basketball court as well as fence the entire area. Councilor Hurlock stated that the project was completed in a little over two months.
Councilor Hurlock said, "This Mayor and Town Council are committed to keeping the budget in line. We have a 0% tax increase this year, but we are able to still invest the money in the infrastructure, which hasn't been the case in years prior, but we're committed to that going forward."
The Mountainside tennis courts opened approximately a week prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Therefore, when township officials arrived Friday, they were pleased to see residents enjoying the courts so quickly.
Among the half-dozen residents using the courts when township officials arrived, two expressed their gratitude instantly. Montclair resident Eve Robinson and her tennis partner, Anna Marie Bordonaro said that they were the first players to play on the revitalized tennis courts when they opened the gates last week. Robinson explained that she would watch daily as she passed on her drive to work to determine when the construction was completed. She and her tennis partner arrived to play immediately thereafter.
Robinson said, "Anna Marie and I are a part of a very large group of ladies who play tennis every week outdoors. We have been waiting for this court to open so that we can have a place to play. We have played every weekend outdoors for many years, but we have never played in Montclair. I'm happy the town did this because I've lived in town for twenty years." She added, "We love it and they're beautiful."
Bordonaro said, "We really appreciate having a place to play."
Councilor Hurlock was all smiles as he shared how pleased he was with the outcome. “I am thrilled with the work done on all the courts. They look great,” said Councilor Hurlock. “It is my hope that people will have the opportunity to use these magnificent tennis courts for a long time to come. This is a wonderful improvement to Mountainside Park.”