Tennis Back-And-Forth Is Showing No Love

Jessica Goolsby
Wednesday - December 02, 2009
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A war has been waged over use of the Central Oahu Regiona Park tennis courts, and with so many legal hoops to jump through, confusion and frustration are at an all-time high.

Hawaii Pacific Tennis Foundation, a nonprofit committed to promoting on Oahu, claims to have sent numerous requests to the city Department of Parks and Recreation for legal permits and documentation to conduct classes at the CORP courts; it alleges it has either been ignored or turned down. The specific concern is that other groups, such as United States Tennis Association-Hawaii Pacific Section, have been granted such concessions while HPTF has continued to be ignored.

“There’s a lot of teaching going on on the courts for financial gain,” said Mark Beede, HPTF executive director.“My understanding is that the city is issuing the permits for USTA,but they’re not issuing permits for the same type of activity by others.


“The city is favoring one group and stonewalling others while turning a blind eye to the illegal activities there as well,” Beede added.

The foundation maintained CORP facilities for several years, but withdrew in 2006. “When we left CORP, we requested permits and have done it in subsequent years,” Beede said, “and the city has granted us permits for certain events - but not for instructional programs.It’s been an ongoing issue for more than three years now.”

USTA-HPS executive director Ron Romano insists his operations are legally sound. “USTA runs a number of programs on the public courts, which obviously are under the jurisdiction of the city Department of Parks and Recreation,” he said. “We have a permit for every single program that we do. Everything.

“The city historically has sponsored our Play To Learn Program by saying it provides a service to the community, so they endorse it. But we still have to go through the permit process. I have explained to the people making these allegations that this is a service to the city and we follow the rules and regulations.”

If anything, he said, the foundation is the one that needs to look at court rules of conduct. “I think if you look at the official tennis rules and regs, you’ll see that you have to be a nonprofit, and another is that if you have your own tennis facilities,you should run your program on them instead of on the public courts.

“We are a nonprofit.We are the national governing body of tennis here in Hawaii, and we don’t have our own courts. Everything we do we have to get a permit for or work something out with different clubs.

“The foundation has its own courts at Tripler, Schofield and I believe Fort Shafter.But they do have their own. I think the reality is that being that USTA is the main Hawaii tennis organization, we’re probably the largest user of tennis courts in the state. We sanction about 100 tournaments a year and run several leagues, so we are without question the largest user. But it’s because we’re serving the largest segment of the tennis population.”

Beede disagrees.“We’d like to see the city legitimize the opportunities to teach on public courts instead of just certain groups,” he said.

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Most Recent Comment(s):

What does the city have to say? Even though this is very much he-said, he-said, I’d have to say it seems reasonable that all people requesting permits should get accepted or rejected for the same reason. I’m guessing the USTA doesn’t use 100% of the remnant court space since the regional park is rarely full and why not let other groups use it if you can make extra permit money off it? It seems odd too that the biggest tennis organization in Hawaii doesn’t have its own courts, without which they’d be playing tennis in parking lots.

HPS issues its own permits and others must check with them before the C&C will issue a permit. So how is it “obvious” who has jurisdiction? What Romano says doesn’t really clarify or address any issues. Were the permits denied for a good reason or not?

This other organization should not be iced out of public courts even if it had a facility and if it is a foundation it is a non-profit. The USTA is a non-profit and it makes money off the public courts all the time. This HTPF should know its own business. Seems like the USTA doesn’t want the competition.

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