Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America, but local tennis fans are speaking up as it appears Pickleball is taking away opportunities from tennis play. At Monday’s City Council Meeting, residents spoke up about the lack of “free tennis play” and the conflicts with Pickleball.
“There was a time before the pickleball takeover when we could play unbothered for free on our local courts, but with the recent changes management has introduced and the pickleball at the tennis center, the tennis players have been swept to the side..” – Matthew Gonzalez
In addition to the frustrations with Pickleball, there were frustrations aimed at Matchpoint LLC that manages the Tennis Center. Matthew Gonzalez suggested the city’s recreation department takeover the management of the tennis courts.
Local resident Frank Fernandez also spoke up at Monday’s City Council Meeting and asked not to prioritize resurfacing, and instead focus on adding more lighting and expanding the hours of operation to 10pm.
Mr. Fernandez was also frustrated with courts used for pickelball and private tennis lessons and eliminating options for tennis play. Fernandez’ frustration led to the creation of an online petition seeking to replace Matchpoint LLC’s management of the courts.
While much of the ire was targeted towards Matchpoint, let’s be honest pickleball was added to the Tennis Courts because of demand from residents. Furthermore, if Miami Springs Parks and Recreation takes over the tennis operations, it’s going to cost the tax payers more money as the city will have to hire tennis pros and add city staff to manage the operations.
Nevertheless, it’s clear that there’s a demand for both tennis and pickleball. There’s demand for more hours and access.
So, what are the solutions? In our opinion, swapping Matchpoint LLC for Miami Springs Recreation is only going to increase taxpayer costs and not solve the problem. It appears we need more courts.
We believe that the tennis courts should move to the golf course. It has superior parking and access to restrooms and dining options inside the Country Club. Furthermore, the proximity will lure more tennis players to try out golf and more golfers to try out tennis. It’s naturally symbiotic.
Furthermore, dedicated pickleball courts at the Country Club can be created to satisfy the demand for both tennis and pickleball.
The current tennis courts can be converted into outdoor basketball courts that have been lacking ever since local schools locked down their existing outdoor facilities.
Of course, this won’t happen overnight.
Do you play tennis? Do you play pickleball? What do you think? How would you improve the situation? Let us know in the comments section below or via social media.
Petition to Preserve Community access to Miami Springs’ Tennis Facility
Why this petition matters
We, the undersigned residents and concerned citizens of Miami Springs, hereby come together to express our deep concern regarding the management and operation of the City of Miami Springs’ tennis facility and programs located at 401 Westward Drive. As dedicated patrons of this cherished community asset, we believe that the introduction of third-party for profit companies threatens the very essence of what the facility represents.
In the proposed 2023-2024 budget, page 135 highlights the tennis program’s core objective: “to maintain the tennis facility with positive images for all residents of Miami Springs.” This declaration embodies the spirit of community engagement, health, and positive growth that the tennis facility has symbolized for decades. However, recent developments have raised alarming questions about the facility’s future under third-party for-profit management.
Erosion of Community Bonds: For over five decades, the tennis facility has served as a place where neighbors come together, foster friendships, and strengthen the communal fabric. The involvement of for-profit entities threatens to dismantle this sense of unity, replacing it with commercial interests.
Exclusion of Long-Term players: It is disheartening to observe that individuals who have faithfully utilized these tennis courts for half a century are suddenly deprived of access due to the profit-driven agenda of a third party company. Such actions directly contradict the facility’s stated goal of maintaining a positive image for all residents.
We, the undersigned, respectfully petition Miami Springs Mayor Maria Mitchell and Miami Springs City Council members Jorge Santon, Jacky Bravo, Walt Fajet, and Vic Vasquez, to enact the following measures:
Ban for-profit Companies: We call for a definitive ban on third-party for-profit companies from managing and operating the City of Miami Springs’ tennis facility and programs at 401 Westward Drive. This step is crucial to safeguard the historical, communal, and accessible nature of the facility.
Uphold Community-Centric Values: We urge the Mayor and City Council members to prioritize the community’s values, interests, and well-being over commercial gains. It is essential to remember that the facility’s legacy lies in its ability to bring people together and enhance their quality of Life.