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Elings Park Reduces Tennis Court Fees


Thursday, January 3, 2013
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After more than five months of discussions with a disgruntled group of Las Positas tennis players, the Elings Park Foundation announced this week that its previously proposed fees have been reduced by 25-39 percent, and that the hourly use fee has been reduced to $8 per day. The small but vocal group of players had taken issue with the park’s proposed fee hikes — stating staff wages should be reduced and retirement benefits eliminated instead — and say they plan to continue protesting.

Due to 2010 budget cuts, Foundation officials have countered, the city signed a lease with Elings to manage and restore the Las Positas courts, and Elings took on a $1.1 million liability from the city to renovate the facility and keep it open to the public. Since the park is a nonprofit and not supported by tax dollars, officials explained, it operates solely on user fees, programs, and donations. More information on the tennis fees can be found here.

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Good explanation. Since it is a non-profit operation, they do have the right to charge whatever fees they need to cover expenses. If you don't like it, go play at the City courts. Stop bitching about staff wages, they get paid a fraction of what their City counterparts get.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 10:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The Las Positas tennis courts are public, unless the City has sold them to Elings Park. If they are still public, the City is screwing up big time turning a public asset into a private country club.

It's like the parking fee's the County wanted to charge at Hendry's beach. Regressive taxes like this are stupid, and a form of dicrimination.

Georgy (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 1:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

My understanding of the situation is Dimitar (the guy who runs Oceanside Academy - the outfit Elings has contracted to run Las Positas) plans to turn Las Positas into a private club (his words, not mine). He also mentioned plans to build something like a bar/gym and also a few Har-tru courts. He didn't say this to me, but I assume he'd be picking up maintenance costs and operational costs (I believe the lighting bill is proabably the largest component).

Rumor has it Oceanside was also going to enforce a dress code but I heard that got quashed.

Now, what is the difference between paying ~$100/yr in city fees for a public court versus paying ~$800/yr for a private club from a player's viewpoint? I'd suggest it's mostly the size of the fees and the ability to schedule time on the courts.

Looking at it from the viewpoint of the SB Parks & Rec Department, I would have thought their decision to lease/outsource would have considered access & affordability for City residents in addition to the financials. Either they did not anticipate the significantly higher fees of the private club, or Parks & Rec didn't care and decided to let residents pay whatever the commercial operator and Elings wanted.

That last part is an important public policy decision. Was it fully vetted? To really know, I'm afraid I'd have to wade through too many committee or City Council meeting video archves.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 2:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

East Beach. Good Point. It seems Parks and Rec failed to see what this decision could lead to. I would believe the latter that they didn't care and just wanted to be rid of them.

Unfortunately, the best solution would be to make the courts public again by being returned to the City. Otherwise, since the Elings Group is a private venture, they really are free to recoup all their costs, unlike the city.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 2:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Eling$, good old Eling$. So dependable. Can always trust Eling$ to make you pay through the nose for everything,

chilldrinfthenight (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 3:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm not part of the Las Positas group as I usually play at SBHS, City College, or UCSB. But I sense there's going to be a "who blinks first" match between the Las Positas players and Oceanside/Elings.

On the one hand, the Las Positas players could boycott Oceanside to minimize incoming revenue and see how long Oceanside can last.

On the other hand, Oceanside is currently running their juniors program at Las Positas so presumably has a revenue stream from that. They could also turn off the night lights to mimimize their costs. Their program at Fess Parker's Doubletree is also presumably generating revenue. And Elings might be willing to absorb some of Oceanside Academy's costs.

I find it interesting that Oceanside makes it sound like the courts belong to Elings:

http://www.sbschooloftennis.com/

"Santa Barbara School of Tennis at Elings Park is situated at one of the most beautiful and prestigious destination on the West Coast. Overlooking Hendry's Beach with 360 degree views, Elings Park is a 230-acre privately funded park open to the public."

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 3:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Link to the Las Positas players site:

http://www.laspositastennis.com/laspo...

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 3:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Can you say Adventure Pass.

Working families are being discriminated against here.

Georgy (anonymous profile)
January 4, 2013 at 8:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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