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Huntington closes too-short Melville tennis courts to make fixes

Ron Landman at the new Sweet Hollow Park

Ron Landman at the new Sweet Hollow Park tennis courts in Melville on July 13, 2017. Landman says the courts do not have the proper distance between the base line and fence. Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

The too-short tennis courts at the newly opened Sweet Hollow Park in Melville are now closed.

Town officials last week acknowledged there was not enough clearance at either end of the courts and that presented a danger to players, but said they had no plans to close the courts.

Signs were posted last week that stated, “Exercise caution. Court renovation to be scheduled.” Later, temporary signs stating “Closed for Repairs” were put up. Those signs are to be replaced, likely today, with signs that state, “Courts Closed for Renovation,” officials said.

“Initially, the town thought the project to bring the courts to regulation size could be completed quickly, but we subsequently learned that the asphalt cure time takes the project to over a month,” Huntington spokesman A.J. Carter said yesterday. “Because the project will take longer than initially thought, we closed the courts for safety reasons.”

The two courts at the $3.55 million park were designed by a town employee and, after the park opened, were found to be several feet short of recommended clearance.

The standard distance between the baselines of the courts and the fence surrounding them should be 21 feet, but they were constructed with only 10 feet between the playing area and the fence, officials said.

According to the International Tennis Federation and the U.S. Tennis Association, the minimum recommended measurement is 18 feet from the baseline to backstop, with 21 feet the preferred distance.

The park is located on what was once the 8.4-acre Meyers Farm property at Round Swamp Road and Old Country Road.

Ron Landman, a Plainview resident who brought the issue to the town’s attention after playing on the courts in early July, said he was relieved the town decided to close the courts.

“This is what should have been done in the first place,” Landman said. “I was over there a couple of days ago and people were playing and someone ran into the fence. They realized the liability.”

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