City Council cancels contract to build 2 new tennis courts

Action comes after 200 fill council chamber to oppose current plan

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to cancel a construction contract to build two new tennis courts in public park land near the Pleasanton Tennis complex at Hopyard Road and Valley Avenue.

Faced with an overflow crowd of more than 200 and 30 speakers who mostly objected to the planned placement of the new courts, the council voted 4-0 after a two-hour-long public hearing to cancel the contract and seek alternatives.

Councilman Jerry Pentin was not at the meeting.

It's possible no new courts will be built.

Some speakers and others by email to council members said a number of the tennis park courts are often empty. They questioned the need to add more.

Councilman Arne Olson said the operators of the tennis park told him the tennis park courts are only used 62% of the time that they are open. He wants to look at usage at other tennis courts in the city, including those the city shares with Amador Valley High School and Pleasanton Middle School, to determine if there's excess capacity there, too.

"I don't see the need to build two new courts so quickly," he said.

“In our ongoing effort to provide an exceptional quality of life with the amenities residents want and need, the council directed staff to gather more information and come back in the coming months with a revised proposal," said Brian Dolan, assistant City Manager.

“Staff will begin to pursue additional concepts and locations and work with the Parks and Recreation Commission, as well as other interested parties, before bringing it back to council."

The Tennis and Community Park, located at 5801 Valley Ave, was master-planned in 1985 to include 12 tennis courts. Ten courts were originally constructed when the complex was built in 1994 and the remaining two courts were put on hold. In 2012, the Parks and Recreation Master Plan was updated and contained the design for the final phase of the two additional courts.

As part of any Master Plan update, workshops were held to survey the community. Three community workshops were held for the Parks and Recreation Master Plan update, a telephone survey was conducted, and community nonprofits were surveyed.

In 2014, the City Council adopted the completed Master Plan, and this past June 21, it voted to approve the contract and award $494,353 for the construction and landscaping of two tennis courts.

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36 people like this
Posted by Manfred
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 10, 2016 at 9:38 am

What were the reasoning of the opposition? NIMBY? Avid community against outdoor recreation? Fiscally conscious community members with tennis usage data in hand? I actually agree with the decision but this article seems like it is missing key facts.

9 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 10, 2016 at 10:02 am

Finally a good decision by the city council!! One of the facts left out was how much this boondoggle is costing us with incurred contractor costs, planning consultants and anybody else that already had their fingers in the " pie"

40 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Country Fair
on Aug 10, 2016 at 10:19 am

I live in the neighborhood and am active in the community and never heard one word about this being discussed or planned until the chain link fence went up for construction. This fence and proposed courts block access to the grass area of the park, next to the picnic tables and children's play area -- one of the most heavily used areas of the park.
If eventually two more courts need to be built, which usage does not seem to support, then there is unused space closer to Hopyard Road in this same park.

11 people like this
Posted by Julie
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Aug 10, 2016 at 10:36 am

I agree with the decision.
Did they say what the cost to cancel the contract on such short notice would be?

12 people like this
Posted by who is this loser Olson?
a resident of Danbury Park
on Aug 10, 2016 at 12:49 pm

Council man Olson does not play tennis, he calls one guy and now he is an expert on tennis bookings?? You don't book courts 100%, do your homework! A little education for you open times add up for 1/2 unused before a match, 1 hour there right before closing, plus an agreement the city required to keep some courts open for drop-ins is blocking out possible reservations, but he doesn't know any of that - he just likes talking to the press.

Maybe that is why he keeps trying to add more houses, there is 38% of the roads not being used throughout the day. Perhaps bumper to bumper cars and tennis players sitting waiting for courts is a good idea?

I don't see the golf course booked 62% of the time. I don't see the soccer fields booked 62% of the time. I don't see lacrosse being played 62% of the time. I don't see him working 62% of the time.

Give me a break!

34 people like this
Posted by Del Prado Family
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 10, 2016 at 1:59 pm

I was at the meeting last night, and I was very impressed with everyone involved. The mayor and council, those speaking, and the audience. I am especially proud of the youth in attendance who both spoke in front of a large group and listened quietly and maturely as part of the audience.

Credit is definitely due to the mayor and council members for accepting responsibility for the inadequate communication and other mistakes related to this project. I think their decision was spot on and look forward to the ongoing discussion on how we can best meet the needs of EVERYONE who enjoys the park.

Although I fall on the side of keeping the field open, I appreciate the folks from the tennis community who spoke up and shared their thoughts. I think everyone definitely heard their pleas for a swift resolution.

Great job to everyone!

15 people like this
Posted by Dana
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Aug 10, 2016 at 2:02 pm

So I am a tennis player and funny thing is - I can't get EVER get a court at the Tennis Center after work or on wknds so I'm not able to play much. I moved to Pleasanton in Oct and I'm super disappointed how packed the tennis center is at "peak hours". I came from the Peninsula where the high schools are open to the public when their teams aren't using the courts - not here. So the Pton tennis players are limited to less than 10 public/park courts and 10 tennis center courts that yes sit empty during the day, but are fully booked after work and on wknds due to popularity and yes, league play. The tennis center is the only place where leagues can be located out of - not out of the local parks. 1-4 teams for each rating (3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5) for both men and women who all need at least 3 courts for every home match is a LOT of tennis. I'm totally fine NOT building the 2 extra courts - my argument is to OPEN the HIGH SCHOOLS for public play year around / all day PLEASE! I think that would help the issue of the overbooked tennis center. Thanks!

10 people like this
Posted by Disappointed
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Aug 10, 2016 at 2:33 pm

Once again tennis takes a back seat to all other sports programs despite the fact that it is a sport that is played year-round day and night and by players of all ages.

Council Olson said he wanted to base his decision on facts but he did a poor job on his homework. He should have looked at the peak hours of usage instead of the full day. That would have shown him the need for the additional courts.

If lack of full use every day all day is the argument, then how does he explain the fact that all of the existing baseball and soccer fields are empty during most of the day and are not used year round like the tennis courts are? Will the new multi-million dollar fields for soccer and lacrosse in the Bernal Park be used by people of all ages year round and during every hour of the day? And will everyone be allowed to use those high cost fields? When did you last see any of our existing fields used by lacrosse players? It is not that easy to call 20 of your friends to get a game together to play a match (assuming that is the number of players need for a game that not too many know about.) Will those fields be used by youth football as proposed all year round and all day? Will any of those uses be close to the 62% usage figure that Councilman Olson used in his argument?

It was good to see the families and kids arguing against the tennis courts take part in the discussion at City Hall last night but disappointing to see that many of them just discarded their signs of protest on the floor of the meeting room for others to clean up after they left. Civic duty takes on many forms and they failed to clean up after themselves. Another example of the expectation that they government will do everything for you?

5 people like this
Posted by OTP
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 10, 2016 at 8:33 pm

So the way you get a favorable decision from our council is to get there early fill up the room and keep the opposition out . A very effective technique. As to Mr Olson's assement I would guess the remainder of the park is used a lot less than that. None the less, our Council has turned a community park into a neighborhood park. A fact that I and others will remember at election time. It's too bad that our mayor appears to running unopposed. I plan to show my displeasure in the new neighborhood park by parking on the street in front of the homes and encourage my fellow tennis players to do the same until the council turns that into a neighbors only street. I'm glad my taxes can help out the neighborhood. dE

5 people like this
Posted by Bjorn Macenroe
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 10, 2016 at 9:46 pm

Tennis players are the Rodney Dangerfield's of this town. We can't get a court in the evenings at the tennis center. We drive around like nomads looking for the few other options with no luck.

The city builds a massive new park at Bernal full of softball, baseball, soccer and football fields. NOT ONE STINKIN TENNIS COURT.
Look at Fremont and San Ramon's central parks. THEY HAVE TENNIS COURTS to meet demand.

The council/cowards have no backbone. The mob rules here. Elections? Don't bother with those. Just hustle up your friends to make some noise at a council meeting. You'll get whatever you want.

They did not even bother to throw us a bone.
They just said "screw tennis"

3 people like this
Posted by OTP
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 10, 2016 at 10:12 pm

I'm pretty sure this was a done deal before the meeting last night. Tennis players were at the budget meeting earlier in the year and thought we had it. The supposedly "active in the community" people knew they didn't need to show up at that meeting and could back door this. So now we they have their own park and we're left to play in other Cities. Just FYI read the "all" in amenities for all to read under 60 and politically connected.

38 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Resident
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 10, 2016 at 10:56 pm

My praise goes to the city mayor and council members who made the right decisions of canceling the contract.

Even if there is truly an overbooked issue during peak hours, two additional tennis courts are not going to help much. I agree with comments of Dana from Highland Oaks above, the tennis player community should continue working with the city to come up with a long-term solution; whereas the two proposed courts on wrong location is definitely not a long- term solution to the overbooked issue. Please don't vent your anger on residents nearby, and try to put yourself in the same shoes, do you want two tennis courts right in front of your house?

38 people like this
Posted by Support Councilman Olson
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 10, 2016 at 11:08 pm

I was in the meeting last night and I want to correct one misleading sentence from this article, the 62% usage was given by lifetime tennis, not researched by Councilman's Olson!!To be fair, as a councilmember,should he or she support to proceed the grandfather plan just because he play tennis?? If not, I think Councilman Olson did the right thing-- Councilwoman Karla Brown is an active tennis player, she decided to vote for cancel for other alternatives , she did the right thing too ---by the people and for the people!!

4 people like this
Posted by OTP
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2016 at 12:33 am

For the first time in my life I plan to actively participate in the political process and plan to work hard to support whoever runs against those who said one thing in the budget meeting and changed their vote after setting up a meeting in a room too small to allow all to participate. Yes I would love to have a tennis court nearby and certainly wouldn't buy a house across from a "tennis park" if I didn't like tennis or objected to one being there. It's sort of like buying a house under the approach to an airport and then trying to shut the airport because of the noise. And yes I do hold it against the neighbors who jammed the meeting and talked about THEIR park. I foolishly thought my taxes and tennis fees helped support our park not realizing it was your park. But there is hope since this council could easily cave again just like they did after the budget meeting. Particularly when one of the council member quotes a number that he clearly didn't take the time to understand

45 people like this
Posted by Maple
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 11, 2016 at 12:49 am

I also want to praise our elected city officials - the City Mayor and the Councilmembers who made the right decisions of canceling the current contract.

Currently Pleasanton has total 68 Tennis Courts, 44 public courts, 24 private courts, 36 lighted courts. Court Availability Data, in late 2005, provided by Life Time Tennis, showed an average 3.3 players turned away does not represent an excessive number. And as Council man Olson mentioned that the recent data provided by Life Time Tennis indicates average usage of only 62%, the rest of 38% of the time are vacant. (Here I want to give praise to Mr. Olson for speaking out the truth). I saw people are complaining about not getting courts during peak time - evening and weekend, but I tried to book courts for evening and weekends without any issue these days. So where the shortage coming from ? From what I heard during yesterday's meeting, the shortage was caused from increasing number of Tennis League teams using Pleasanton courts for matches and practices (most of the time on weekends or night). I can imaging you may have difficulty to book tennis courts during PEAK time when there is league game season. By the way, among the cities in the Bay Areas, Pleasanton has the most numbers of tennis courts but has least population. So my question is whether it is the right decision to put pleasanton tax payer's money into two additional tennis courts which will be used by league players and will be vacant by 38% ? Not mention that building those two tennis courts in current location will take away already small but precious green field that is used by the community for their everyday life. And I agree with what one of the speaker said yesterday - it became the part of our life and our home.

Some speakers who cried for the tennis courts insisted that it was from grandfather master plan in 1985. But they did not mention that the plan was revised in 1995 and those two courts were already taken out from the master plan. And in 2005, 2006 and 2009, City official reiterated in the city council meeting that the decision was made to delete two courts from the orignal plan in recognition and of potential impacts on the adjacent neighborhood.

When the master plan was made ? It was 1985, which is more than 30 years ago. Things has changed dramatically, communities are growing, everywhere is changing. Even Pokemons are evolving. It's time to do the right thing, not just politically right.

44 people like this
Posted by Thanks to the Mayor and Council Members
a resident of Country Fair
on Aug 11, 2016 at 1:27 am

I am very proud of being in the park neighborhood and want to thank the Mayor and council members for making the right decision. The issue at heart is that the new courts shouldn't be built because it will take away the most valuable open space enjoyed by ALL families in the neighborhood daily. We are not against the tennis or tennis players in any way.

I can understand the disappointment of some people because they didn't get what they want but please be considerate to other people when you vent. Just because it's discussed among someones in the past and posted somewhere doesn't mean it's communicated the right way. You can find a more extreme and hilarious example in "A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" (it's an excellent book by the way). This is a "Tennis and COMMUNITY Park", not just a place for tennis players. If we are not the community, who else are?

I don't mind someone advocating for more tennis courts but people, please don't be so selfish as to totally ignore other people's needs! You said you are a tax payer. Are we not? You can't just look at the map and say "ha, here is some empty space for two courts, let's build it". To understand the utter importance of this open space, please come and live in the neighborhood for a week and then you'll understand why there is such strong opposition. OK, you complain that you can't find a place to play tennis for a couple hours in the weekend. Do you ever consider how dozens of families will feel if they lose the open space next to their houses FOREVER? Did you hear what the kids have to say in the meeting?

Some people also compared tennis courts with soccer/football/lacrosse fields. Well actually there is a big difference. All those other fields are open and grassy. When there is no sporting event, people can still enjoy them with many activities - playing balls, throwing discs, running with kids, playing with dogs, etc etc. But tennis courts are fenced and closed while not in use. And we have 10 courts here already totally inaccessible to non tennis players. We really need a open space for our families and friends to get together and enjoy our lives here!

Overall I'm happy that the city council realized that there is a mistake in the planning process and listened to the heartfelt plea of many concerned citizens. I want to applaud them for making this bold decision.

32 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton First
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 11, 2016 at 7:46 am

I believe it can be difficult to book a tennis court some times some days; but do we know how many players are actually Pleasanton residents? And why do we have to host so many games here?

Let's not forget this is Pleasanton's tennis park, not trivalley's, not county's. It will be great if we are able to increase the court capacity without negatively impacting local neighbors; but when there is an conflict of interest, I'd say the City of Pleasanton ought to take care of its own residents first. The City council has made the right decision and deserves a round of applause!

As an alternative to add new courts, is it possible to modify the booking system to give Pleasanton residents priority? That will help to serve local players better.

6 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 11, 2016 at 8:24 am

Don't get overly excited about the mayor and his puppets giving back our piece of grass because they are still allowing too many homes to be built on every empty lot in our town, vote these clowns out ASAP. Still waiting to hear what this tennis court screw-up is costing us to not be built!

10 people like this
Posted by Julie
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 11, 2016 at 9:39 am

This is asinine. The people in this neighborhood bought their houses across from a TENNIS PARK. It's also not "their" park. It's the community's park.

I don't buy the argument that the City never "told" the neighborhood. Try looking for the yellow postcards in your mail. I bet you threw them away.

The mob rule in this town, especially during silly season, is preposterous.

21 people like this
Posted by Jason
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 11, 2016 at 10:11 am

first of all. I like sports and I am not against to have more tennis court if it is really need. I attended the meeting and I understand OTP's feeling about the meeting decision. but I would like ask after I read OTP's post:

1) Are you sure all the "The supposedly 'active in the community' people" be properly informed about this project before the fence went up? it seems to me only tennis players be informed. we were not! We only knew this when we saw the fence up.

2) Have you ever think about how much impact it will be if those two tennis courts be built in the proposed location? probably you didnt realize that it is the most heavily used park area (of course, not by tennis players); A only open area next to play ground. Once those two tennis courts be built, the play-ground will be surrounded by tennis courts &facility. it will become someone's backyard. this park will be a sports-like park or tennis park.

3) We came there on time just because we care it so much! lots people came back from south bay area to attend the meeting starting from 5:30pm which takes more than one hour driving. That is the only chance we have to speak out our opinion about this tennis-court plan.

To me, The proposed location definitely is not a good choice! City councils made a right decision.

Another thing is, From my own experience, this is the 2nd time that project were cancelled due to lack of communications among involved parties. It waste money! Some improvement should be done during the plan process. Hopefully this situation will not happen again and all money be used where it should be.

4 people like this
Posted by spudly
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Aug 11, 2016 at 10:12 am

Can somebody just tell me why high school courts cannot be used? The courts at PMS are open to the public??

5 people like this
Posted by Julie
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 11, 2016 at 10:40 am

@Jason - when you complain that "this park will be a sports-like park or tennis park", you proved my point.

It is and always has been a tennis park. All other uses are ancillary. Sorry.

7 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2016 at 11:02 am

BobB is a registered user.

I agree with Julie, this is first and foremost a tennis park. As a tennis player, I would be in favor of building these two courts and two more while we are at it. People are complaining about the playground being surrounded, but I would use that location for another court if it were up to me.

Plenty of evenings and weekends I am unable to get a court. Ask anyone actually plays tennis about availability. Don't just drive by at noon and say the courts are unused.

This decision by mob rule is unfortunate.

I also agree that we should find a way to open the high school courts to the public.

4 people like this
Posted by Casual Viewer
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 11, 2016 at 11:41 am

Just a curious question, was there a cost to the city to cancel this construction contract and if so does anyone know the amount involved? Was this mentioned in the meeting?

4 people like this
Posted by Jesusandpals
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Aug 11, 2016 at 2:49 pm

Jesusandpals is a registered user.

Without new development, none of us would be here.

15 people like this
Posted by Long Time Resident
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Aug 11, 2016 at 3:58 pm

A lot of newcomers to Pleasanton are not familiar with the challenges we had in developing our parks before the city was flush with money. Many parks were built in phases and development was completed as funding became available.

Nobody has commented that this nice "open" area is there for the future placement of the two tennis courts that have become such an issue. It's clear that trees were planted around the perimeter of the open area so they would not have to be cut down when the courts were built.

This is not the first time that an open space in a park has been filled in with the intended structure.

I think the point we have reached in this town is really sad. If I showed the same attitude, here are some things I would like to improve my quality of life in my neighborhood:
1) No more swim meets at the Aquatic Center. Participants parks in unsafe, inconsiderate ways and it has a negative impact on my neighborhood.
2) No more use of the football field lights - it wrecks the quality of life in my neighborhood.
3) No more Fairground fireworks - it drives my dog crazy and ruins my quality of life. So do all the people crowding the city streets before and after the shows.
4) No more drive through traffic on Ridgewood before and after Amador school hours - all the people speeding down the street, using their cell phones - to drop their kids at school. It's dangerous for our neighborhood.
5) No more using Gatetree Circle as a drop off point and pick up point for Amador students. The traffic and speeders are ruining my quality of life and it's a dangerous situation.

I could go on - but my point is we all have to compromise and it's clear this did not happen in the case of these tennis courts.

One more example of how Pleasanton has become a town of selfish, self centered individuals.

5 people like this
Posted by Bjorn Macenroe
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 11, 2016 at 4:31 pm

I propose that we change the name of the park from "The Pleasanton Tennis and Community Center" to "To Appeasement Park".

2 people like this
Posted by Bjorn Macenroe
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 11, 2016 at 4:35 pm


I propose that we change the name of the park from "The Pleasanton Tennis and Community Center" to "Appeasement Park".

2 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Aug 11, 2016 at 4:38 pm

New Tennis courts will shortly be planned for the intersection of Valley and Bernal to give commuters something to do while stuck in gridlock.

5 people like this
Posted by OTP
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2016 at 5:48 pm

The comment from Dan is off topic but right on. The City could have required the developers to install modern signaling rather than the 1950s technology used. Maybe they can use the money they no longer plan to use on the tennis courts to bring some our system after they rename the tennis park. I guess we are lucky they didn't cave completely and pull out the existing courts. Only mobs and developers seem to influence this council.

16 people like this
Posted by Alice
a resident of Val Vista
on Aug 11, 2016 at 7:04 pm

Kudos to city council members votes 4:0 wise decision to cancel current location construction, and explore other alternatives. Please remember the city council members did not choose the option to cancel the project entirely if you were in the special meeting. To be fair to Del Prado and nearby neighborhoods, they are not against tennis courts, they want a better location for construction, just not right at center of the park where little children play, boy/girl scouts meet, soccer, football players meet, residents picnics.. Look like those who complain here are living in neighborhoods other than Del Prado. It sounds it's ok to build tennis courts on other neighborhood, not yours. Also please remember currently there are 10 tennis courts, 2 basketball courts, 2 volleyball courts and 3 open space grass areas in this park. There are LOT tennis courts for a small park. This is Pleasanton Tennis and COMMUNITY Park. It is a COMMUNITY park, not just tennis park. Perhaps a better name will be Pleasanton Valley and Hopyard Community Park.

6 people like this
Posted by OTP
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2016 at 10:59 pm

Forwarding it to staff means some of us will be dead and gone before they ever get built. The Del Prado neighborhood was successful in getting their park at the cost to the Pleasanton community. Seems like everything this council does is directed at people under 40. New ball fields, soccer fields etc. Tennis courts no.

5 people like this
Posted by Doug
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 12, 2016 at 10:44 am

It's only possible to book a tennis court at the tennis center during the day during the week when most people are working or during the hottest part of the day on weekends. It's impossible to book a tennis court after work or in the mornings on weekends. This is where the 62% booking number comes from, so the community has just voted not to support those people that work that would like to play tennis after work or in the mornings on weekends. Essentially saying you can sign up to play in the 90 degree heat on a weekend afternoon.

A ridiculous and disappointing decision.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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