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12 Tennis Courts Have Reopened : Recreation: The $446,000 project to reconstruct cracked and crumbling surfaces took six months.

July 22, 1993|LEE HARRIS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

GRIFFITH PARK — After being closed for more than six months for renovation, the tennis courts in Griffith Park at Riverside Drive and Los Feliz Boulevard have reopened.

All 12 courts have been reconstructed, but the stadium court will remain closed while the wooden bleachers are repaired. The other courts opened Saturday.

The 50-year-old courts received a $446,000 face lift, financed by the city of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks.

Park Services Supervisor Dennis Treadwell said the courts were in dire need of repair because the dirt beneath them had been loosened over the years by seismic activity, resulting in widening cracks. Some of the cracks grew to more than a half-inch wide, and many ran the length of most courts.

"We had been patching them for years," Treadwell said. "But because of the loose earth and large cracks we could no longer patch up the breaks. Reconstruction was the only option."

As the courts became more dilapidated, fewer players used them, as shown in a decline in revenue. In the 1990-91 fiscal year, the courts brought in more than $65,000 from players; in 1991-92, that figure dipped to about $56,000.

The courts were closed Jan. 1. Heavy rains in the early part of the year caused some initial delays, but after that the reconstruction proceeded smoothly, said Kathleen Chan, project manager.

The courts reopened in time to host the 67th annual Public Park Tennis National Championships, which will be played Aug. 11-15.

Original plans called for adding concrete walkways between courts. But that was eliminated because of a lack of money. Nor were any improvements made to the 10-year old lights at the courts.

"We knew we didn't have any additional money for lights," Chan said. "While the lights that are there are not the latest found on public tennis courts, they are safe."

Treadwell noted that the city sought to be economical with the money that was available. For instance, the dirt, asphalt and concrete from the old courts were ground up and recycled for use in the reconstruction, he said.

City officials are hopeful that customers who had stayed away during the past few years will start returning once they become aware of the improvements.

With the remodeling, the facility might not become "the hub of tennis they were in the late 1960s and '70s, but the sprucing up will probably bring many players back" said Barky Boodakian, who teaches tennis at the courts with his partner, Jerry Goldstein.

Play is free on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. From 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays the charge is $6 an hour. On Saturdays and Sundays the charge is $6 an hour from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations: (213) 661-5318.

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