Tennis courts

UDC opens its tennis courts to the registered public | Login Forest Hills |

by John Young

The UDC tennis courts are now open to members of the public who sign up for the Firebirds Community Access Tennis Program.

The new program includes:

An annual fee of $200, which covers the entire household. (According to UDC, members will pay $100 twice a year, the first covering the six months through August, the second payment for the period September through February.)

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Online court registration. UDC uses CourtReserve, based on research and recommendation from a community member.

Electronic or code access to the courts. UDC President Ron Mason has pledged that the community will have access to tennis courts even if UDC staff are not on campus.

Extended and predictable opening hours. The courts will be open to students, community members and clinics “from dusk till dawn” according to Mason, with priority for students and the tennis team.

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The lights will be on. The UDC is committed to working with ANC 3F and community members to re-authorize the use of the new tennis court lights.

To enroll in the program, complete the enrollment form on the Courtreserve portal. Then print, sign, and mail this disclosure form along with a check made payable to the University of the District of Columbia. Email firebirdtennisclub@udc.edu with your questions.

While this proposal is a good start, much more needs to be done to make the program a success, including ensuring efficient programming and access to the courts when the UDC tennis team, students, faculty , clinics and community members want to play. Specifically:

It will be important to put in place a solid system of planning and access to the courts. The purpose of having a reservation system is to manage court time when UDC staff are not available. One of the hurdles of the pilot program was the clumsy requirement for 24-hour advance reservations and the need for UDC staff to physically open and close the courts. The online reservation system should solve this problem.

The time available on the field should be maximized by opening the courts early and turning on the lights for evening play. A lesson from the pilot was that for professionals and families, opening hours were too limited and often unpredictable. It was almost impossible for them to play 10-4 on weekdays. Off-peak use will be facilitated by the use of a robust reservation and access system.

The local tennis community needs to be rebuilt. Before the courts closed in 2008, there was a vibrant Van Ness tennis community that played in the evenings and on weekends. Many new families and businesses have arrived in the neighborhood since then, and there is a real opportunity to rebuild that sense of community. One suggestion, from Van Ness Main Street and community members, is to sponsor a tennis tournament and work closely with UDC leaders to promote the use of tennis courts and campus accessibility. of the SVP as a community partner.

To gauge interest in potential membership, the community has launched a sign-up sheet where people can express their interest in joining. There are now well over 100 people on that list, in addition to the 100 residents who signed up for the original pilot program.

The new program was led by Council Member Mary Cheh. Earlier this year, Cheh hosted a virtual meeting with council chairman Phil Mendelson, ANC 3F commissioner David Cristeal, UDC chairman Mason, his staff and members of the community.

The meeting discussed next steps following the expiration in December 2021 of the three-month UDC Tennis Court Pilot Program which allowed the community to try out the courts and provide feedback for an ongoing community tennis program and user-friendly. Community members, which included Van Ness Main Street and tennis players from across Ward 3, provided feedback on the pilot program and recommendations on how students, staff and community members to the SVP could make better use of the five tennis courts.

And now we look forward to an active spring tennis season at Van Ness.

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