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Players at Griffith Park Courts Again Ask, 'Tennis, Anyone?' : Recreation: Six-month, $446,000 renovation nearly complete. Work on bleachers continues.

July 25, 1993|LEE HARRIS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

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 rebuilt, but the stadium court will remain closed while the wooden bleachers are repaired. The other courts opened July 17.

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, resulting in widening cracks. Some of the cracks grew to more than half an inch, 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 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.

The city's original plans called for adding concrete walkways between courts. But that was eliminated because of a lack of money.

Nor were improvements made to the courts' 10-year-old lights. "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. We have no serious problems with the lights."

Treadwell said 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 players who had stayed away from the courts 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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