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Griffith Park Tennis Courts Now Open for Play

July 25, 1993|LEE HARRIS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Westside tennis players who have been inconvenienced by the closing of Cheviot Hills tennis complex for remodeling now have an alternative--driving across town to the Griffith Park courts, which recently reopened after extensive renovation.

The Cheviot Hills courts, which closed June 1, are undergoing a $337,800 reconstruction. The work will include resurfacing the 14 courts, upgrading the lighting and replacing some fencing. The project is expected to be completed in October.

Meanwhile, the Griffith Park courts at Riverside Drive and Los Feliz Boulevard are open for action after being closed six months.

All 12 courts have been resurfaced, but the stadium court will remain closed while the wooden bleachers are repaired. The other courts opened July 17.

The $446,000 face lift of the 50-year-old courts was financed by the city of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, which also is paying for the improvements at Cheviot Hills.

Park Services Supervisor Dennis Treadwell said the Griffith Park 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 half an 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 for the 67th annual Public Park Tennis National Championships, which will be played Aug. 11-15.

City officials are hopeful that customers 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 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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