Charlotte Tennis Association

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March 21, 2013 08:26 AM

On behalf of the Charlotte Tennis Association ("CTA"), we would like to make our league and program participants aware that the Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation Department ("MCPR") is recommending a 66% increase to public park court reservation fees.  
Here’s what’s happening
The current reservation cost per court for 1 1/2 hours is $4.50. MCPR is recommending the fee be raised to $7.50 for 1 ½ hours (a 66% increase).
Here’s how it affects you
As tennis players, we know that the public court conditions, amenities, and tennis programming in our community are considerably below comparable community standards. Our players often express that our facilities have not seen the kind of investment that their tax dollars deserve.  
This proposed fee increase would only generate $40,000 that could be used for maintenance and improvements on the 144 tennis courts throughout the County. Therefore, the change represents a large percentage increase on the cost to an individual user but only generates a modest amount of funds in the aggregate.
The County's master plan studies conducted a few years ago indicated a 76 court shortage in Mecklenburg County for 2012 and the shortage is likely larger today. Building 76 courts would cost over $3 million.
We all know that during playing hours, many of the courts are over-crowded with demand exceeding supply. The CTA’s mission is to grow the sport of tennis. Providing more accessibility to a broader population at a low cost is fundamental to growth and inclusion whereas limiting courts and raising fees works to deter accessibility.    
Whether you are playing in a league out of a park or a club, all league players have a vested interest in these efforts to improve our public tennis facilities and programming, as these improvements will help grow the sport of tennis by:

  • providing greater accessibility to the sport in the community,

  • leading to more robust playing opportunities through growth in players and teams,

  • improved court conditions for all league players (home or away),

  • increased opportunities for league competitions, adult tournaments, and junior tournaments, and

  • increased opportunities for high level professional events or exhibitions.

The CTA recently learned of this proposal and, on March 12th, attended the Park & Rec Commissioners meeting < Agenda.pdf> to present an overview and speak on behalf of our constituents against such an increase.
Key Highlights of the presentation:
  • Our research of other public court facilities in NC and SC communities, conducted with the help of USTA NC, indicates that the current fees of $4.50 per court per 1 1/2 hours are in line with or higher than most other surrounding communities.

  • We conveyed the critical needs of the tennis community for additional courts, improved court conditions, expanded programming opportunities, and other amenities.

  • We highlighted other ways to generate additional revenue for the County from the sport of tennis that are more in line with the County’s (and our) overall goals.


The Park Commissioners discussed the proposed court fee increase that evening and, despite the opposition, voted to pass the increase (9-1).  Thus, the fee increase recommendation will be presented on April 9th at the County Budget/Public Workshop session.  After discussion during this workshop, the proposal will be submitted to the Board of County Commissioners for discussion and approval in a May Budget meeting on a date yet to be determined.
CTA Advocacy
For the past 5-6 years, the CTA has been advocating extensively with MCPR and community and political leaders for enhancements to tennis facilities, court conditions, and programming in our parks.  As part of this work, the CTA has also laid the groundwork for the need for a larger-scale tennis complex (25 courts) that would fill a deeply felt need in the Charlotte area tennis community.  
As a result of these efforts, many community leaders are supportive of improved facilities for tennis and other amateur sports. As you may have seen recently in the local press, the City’s initial plan for funding the Panthers stadium renovations included a tennis complex to be part of an overall plan to improve amateur sports complexes. Discussions to enhance facilities in the community are ongoing and additional support and engagement from tennis players in the community will only serve to further strengthen the effort.
Here’s what you can do about it
If you are against the fee increase and want to see MCPR provide real improvements for tennis in your community, you can express you opinion or simply share your perspective by contacting the County Commissioners in Mecklenburg County.
The links to the County’s websites for MCPR and for the Board of County Commissioners are:

Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners:

Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation:

Additionally, it is our understanding that there will be an opportunity for public comment during the May Budget meeting of the County Commission. We will provide additional information when the date of this meeting is confirmed.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at
Committed to the game,
Carla O'Connor

Carla O'Connor
Charlotte Tennis Association
Executive Director