Binghamton Rec Park Courts Being Used for Everything But Tennis
The new tennis courts at Recreation Park in Binghamton finally are getting some use - from skateboarders, dogwalkers and bike riders. They still can't be used for tennis.
The long-running saga of the tennis court replacement project at the popular West Side park continues with no end in sight.
Tennis lovers have been waiting to play on the new courts for years. Then-Mayor Richard David proposed the project in September 2019. He said addressing drainage issues at the site would be a priority.
Broome Bituminous Products of Vestal was hired as the general contractor. The old courts were closed in November 2019 and ground was broken for the project the following spring.
The new tennis courts were used for a few months in 2021 but the facility was closed when surface water problems became evident.
Last April, Mayor Jared Kraham said the material Broome Bituminous used for the court surface "didn't meet the city's expectations in terms of drainage and repelling water." At the time, he said remedial work was expected to take two months to complete.
But problems persisted after last summer's work and city officials now don't know when the tennis courts will be ready for play.
In an email to WNBF News, Deputy Mayor Megan Heiman said additional construction work should start in the next several weeks. She wrote there will be "a full replacement of the playing surface." The work is being done after a test strip was installed and evaluated last year.
Some park visitors have expressed concern that the unopened tennis courts aren't secured. In recent days, they've been used by people on rollerblades, skateboards and bicycles. They're also popular with parents with strollers, dog owners walking their pets and people operating remote control cars.
Heiman said park rangers monitor for possible misuse "like rollerblading or dogs off leash."
When Mayor David proposed replacing tennis courts at Recreation Park and MacArthur Park, he estimated the total cost of both projects at $600,000. That figure eventually soared to $1.5 million just for the work at Rec Park.
There's no estimate for how much the repair work will add to the Rec Park project. According to Heiman: "Any subsequent work following issues with original installation will be paid by contractors/consultants, not the City."
Last month, the organizers of a tennis tournament that had been held at the park for nearly three decades would no longer take place because the venue would not meet new Association of Tennis Professionals guidelines.