I was very disturbed to receive an email from Montclair Recreation and Cultural Affairs saying that the Rand Park tennis courts had been converted to a temporary skateboard park and were no longer available for tennis.
I understood that although two of the Rand Courts were converted to temporary skateboard parks in 2020 – a converted use to which I had no objection – no decision had been made by the City Council to convert the two short remaining rand in skateboard park.
While council decided at its January 18 meeting “that subject to a favorable outcome of the insurance analysis, council proposes that the township include the construction and maintenance of a public skate park at Rand Park in plans for the development of new or redeveloped recreational facilities, including the cessation of tennis at Rand Park’s two south tennis courts”, I was unaware that the insurance contingency had been satisfied or that such plans for the development of new or redeveloped recreational facilities or the cessation of tennis at the two southern tennis courts had in fact been considered or approved by the council.
I expressed strong objections to the conversion of the two remaining courts to the mayor, the members of council concerned and the recreation department and in a letter to this newspaper.
The two remaining Rand tennis courts should not be closed prematurely without the township giving due consideration to the issues and objections that have been raised, and developing plans to replace them. The remaining tennis courts at Nishuane towards the south end of town, and Mountainside at the north end of town, are not within walking distance of a huge strip of central Montclair.
I continue to believe that the township should preserve the two remaining Rand tennis courts or mitigate the expansion of the skateboard park by building new courts nearby to preserve tennis as a recreational option in our part of town.
It’s not about which activity is the most popular. We need more, not less recreational options to improve the health and well-being of Montclair residents.
Editor’s Note: Earlier this month, Councilman Peter Yacobellis told Montclair Local that the township’s insurer had returned a favorable risk analysis of the plan to install skateable sculptures in the temporary skate park at the township and its extension to the south two of Rand Park’s four tennis courts. .
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