Large turnout for Jan. 10 community meeting on GGPTC renovation project

Nearly 200 people gathered at the County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park on Jan. 10 to hear the latest updates on the Golden Gate Park Tennis Center renovation project.

Planning for the project is being led by a partnership between the Tennis Coalition of San Francisco, the San Francisco Parks Alliance and the San Francisco Recreation & Park Department (SFRPD).

“Anyone who says tennis is a dying sport isn’t here tonight,” said Phil Ginsburg, general manager of SFRPD, to the standing-room-only crowd, which included tennis players of all ages as well as pickleball and ping-pong players from Golden Gate Park.

Phil Ginsburg

Attendees heard presentations from key members of the team, including a review of the designs for the proposed clubhouse, courts and landscape plan by lead architect Emily Bello of EHDD. The community has been offered several presentations  throughout the design development process and attendees have given feedback all along the way.

“We’ve really taken that input to heart in designing the facility,” said Bello.

Management of the renovated Tennis Center was also discussed at the meeting. Tennis Coalition Board Co-chair Lois Salisbury reported that after the planning team visited several municipal tennis centers around the country – including Denver, the Bronx, and nearby Sunnyvale – it came to the conclusion that those public facilities that hired experienced operators had the most sustainable financial models and the best-run operations for users, spectators and visitors.

“We saw robust facilities with a wide diversity of tennis activities,” said Salisbury. Salisbury also noted that of over 30 municipal tennis centers in California with six or more courts, more than 80 percent had decided to contract with an experienced facilities operator.

SFRPD is planning to issue a Request for Proposals this year to solicit bids from successful tennis facility operators. Dana Ketcham, SFRPD’s director of property management, provided an overview of how the RFP process works and how the public can participate.

Also discussed were court fees and how they might change at the renovated GGPTC. Addressing concerns about increased costs, Salisbury noted that the Tennis Center’s fees have not changed in more than 20 years and would remain among the lowest of what most comparable Bay Area public facilities charge “We want our center to be accessible and affordable for all players of all ages and skill levels,” she said.

The planning team also presented information about SFRPD’s Tennis and Learning Center (TLC). An after-school youth development program for elementary school students currently serving three underserved neighborhoods (with a fourth to open this fall), TLC will expand to serve middle schoolers once the renovated GGPTC is opened. Designs for the new clubhouse include a dedicated classroom space for TLC. Read more about the TLC program.