NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – New Providence tennis players would like to see some improvements in the courts and change the scheduling system. Clivia Esposito spoke on behalf of the New Providence Tennis Association at the Monday, August 14 council meeting and asked the council to fix the existing tennis facilities.

The association runs “all kinds of” tennis programs in borough courts, usually using 3-4 courts at a time. According to Esposito the biggest court concerns are the cracks, some of them “substantial”. She asked if the borough has a plan to upgrade the facilities.

Borough Administrator Doug Marvin explained that the borough has spoken with the manufacturer of the product that is used to fill those cracks. The work will be done by Department of Public Works (DPW) employees. Going forward the borough is going to evaluate court conditions and, if possible, allocate capital improvement funds for the project into the 2018 budget, Marvin explained. He also noted that a few years ago half of the courts were upgraded and the improvement project of the other half of the courts was postponed into the future. “The future has arrived,” he said.

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Esposito suggested that instead of repairing the courts in piecemeal fashion the borough should consider replacing them entirely. Marvin explained that the borough wants to keep the courts safe and the funds for a complete renovation project would not be available until the 2018 budget is approved. If the council approves the project for 2018 it would take some time before the replacement project could start due to the bidding process.

Esposito asked if the members of the tennis association could get involved in the improvement project as they travel to many other towns and have seen “absolutely beautiful facilities”. The association could research regarding the materials and methods used in for those facilities. We as members of the community would like to have input into the planning process, she said.

Mayor Al Morgan noted that every five years we have to do something with the courts. It looks like the material we are using in not “up to snuff”. Councilman Robert Robinson speculated that since the courts are built on sandy soil, it erodes over time. “It is more of a location problem,” he said. Several years back the borough had looked at rebuilding the courts on a solid footing. At that time the cost was up to half a million dollars, Robinson said. Morgan noted that sometimes it is better to spend the money once, instead of funding repairs every year. “Sometimes you have to spend some money to save some money,” he said.

Council President Gary Kapner agreed. “There is no reason why we cannot have a first class facility in town,” he said. “We should do our homework and come up with a plan for 2018.”

Additionally Esposito asked that the council consider changes for the online court reservation system, as it only allows one person to reserve the court for one hour. Tennis matches typically take an hour and half to two hours. Esposito also noted that the court attendant should be better instructed regarding his or her duties.