What is the latest on the tripling of fees at the Las Positas Tennis Facility? Santa Barbara View caught up with David Niles, advocate for the Las Positas Tennis Group:
“The Las Positas Tennis Group is requesting a City Council Hearing to address the $1per year park giveaway of Las Positas Tennis Facilities, and multi million dollar facility, with lack of public process.
Originally, our group reached out directly to Danny Vickers and Elings Park to coordinate a smooth transition of existing members into Elings new management plan. Elings listened to what we had to say, then we feel we were dismissed without consideration by the Elings and their Board. They presented their New Vision for the facility, which for the most part, longstanding members and players overwhelmingly rejected. Unable to work with Elings, we then contacted Mayor Schneider and Council member White and met with them to discuss the matter. Prior to bringing the issue with the City, they would talk to Elings and together we could our differences. Based on this new promise of cooperation, we scheduled a village town hall meeting on the mesa, with all invited. These efforts produced some common ground in that everyone agreed there should be a Las Positas Tennis Management Model.
Our group did the groundwork in researching low cost non profit models used by other communities in California and around the country. The La Jolla Non Profit Management Plan was agreed on by both sides as a good model. Las Positas Tennis Group did the work to plug in the number into the model all the while consulting with Elings. In the end, Elings did the same maneuver and dismissed our efforts and let us know they where following their own vision. They have hired a for profit management group, with little or no history with the facility to manage the courts. Most insulting, aside from being thrown under the bus by the City and Elings, was the tripling of fees. Our plan (based on the La Jolla Non Profit Model) increased the fees from $155 to $200 per player adults and seniors, juniors play free or are supported by other members. Their plan has increased fees from $155 to $495 per adult players. More than triple. Juniors over $200.
Elings has done little to anything to improve the courts, despite what they claim about spending time on the facility and the deferred maintenance liability. They made other disingenuous claims such as reducing the fees after meeting with our group. The fees have only been increased over last year. No question about it. We feel the City gave away a public asset with no clear public interest defined in the contract and the Elings park is clearly not interested in working with the public they claim to serve and the courts now sit mostly empty. There is some rumor and speculation about Elings courting a wealthy board member to pump up their endowment. So others question the integrity of their claims about improvement after raising funds for another tennis facility in the 80′s that was never developed. One thing is for certain, the general public who built, maintained and used these courts over the last decades are feeling disenfranchised Elings Park takeover. This has ripped apart a longstanding tennis community and we will not sit by and watch the destruction of our Tennis Family.”
- David Niles Las Positas Tennis Group