The first sentence of the article about the Jerry Cline Tennis Center upgrade in the May 9 Business section summed it up pretty well: “The courts haven’t really changed, but there’s a shiny new feel to Albuquerque’s Jerry Cline Tennis Center.”
The new facility and office center is a very shiny showcase for the city Recreation Department and a well deserved, much improved workplace for the city employees who have been working out of temporary quarters for the last several years at that location.
But the number and condition of public courts in Albuquerque remains the same: The existing courts are showing signs of wear and tear; there aren’t enough lighted public courts anywhere in town; the lights on some courts at Jerry Cline are barely adequate; and the biggest problem is that Albuquerque just does not have enough public courts to meet the demands of the statewide high school tournaments, U.S. Tennis Association league play and local recreational players who would just like to get a court or two to use on a weekday evening or weekend morning before the summer temperatures soar into the 90s.
While it is true that Albuquerque city government does not have unlimited funds to carry out all needed improvements, this is the same city that saw fit several years ago to demolish a good, well-used, centrally located Albuquerque Tennis Complex on Avenida César Chavez (Stadium Blvd). That complex already had shower and locker facilities (as have finally been installed at Jerry Cline as part of this $3.5 million upgrade), a couple of racquetball courts and a small pro shop – which the renovated Jerry Cline complex lacks.
In place of the demolished Tennis Complex next to Isotopes Park, the city put in a BMX facility, which all the neighbors surrounding it hate, and the Velopark, which was supposed to attract world-class bicycle racers to the Duke City but has never functioned due to a rotten wooden bicycle racing track that the city purchased to install there.
I find it hard to conclude from the city’s track record that, as glowingly reported in the Journal article, “Priority one … is tennis.”