Redwood City may seek tennis court reservation fee

Redwood City tennis players hoping to reserve one of the city’s courts may soon have to fork over some cash.

The Park and Recreation commission will consider changes to the reservation process and prices because of the growing popularity of the city’s courts.

Redwood City does not currently charge a fee to use one of its dozen tennis courts.

The city does not have a recreational tennis program, but local tennis clubs, teams affiliated with the U.S. Tennis Association and residents looking to drop in for a match are competing for court space, parks superintendent Chris Beth said.

“There are more requests,” he said. “It’s not critical — people are not at each other’s throats — but we are getting lots of calls and it would be good to have a formal process in place.”

Currently, USTA teams and clubs such as the Redwood Shores Tennis Club send a request by mail listing the dates for which they would like to reserve courts, according to Beth.

Beth said a potential fee would be nominal, but an amount to reserve a court had not been decided. The process will be discussed at a parks commission meeting later this month.

Beth said because of the sport’s growing popularity, his department needs a formulaic way to accept or deny reservations. The fee, if one is approved, would pay for administrative costs.

Beth said the primary reason to discuss tennis courts is to put a procedure in place for the 20 USTA and local clubs looking to reserve one.

Karen Brodersen, president of the Redwood Shores Tennis Club, said although she understands the courts are becoming increasingly popular, a fee would hurt the community clubs, which are run by volunteers.

“If they start charging to reserve, the rates we charge for tournaments would have to be raised,” she said. “It could be tremendously high for some people.”

Brodersen said the club currently charges $10 per player to participate in a monthly tournament, but that fee could at least double if the city decides to charge.

“We’re not a pay-to-play sort of group,” she said. “We have all different skills and all different ages.”

Brodersen said the city should charge competitive clubs to use the courts, but residents should be able to use the parks without paying a fee.

 “We play tennis socially,” she said. “We encourage people to go out and use the city parks.”

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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