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Melville tennis courts too short for regulation play, town says

The town says newly built tennis courts at

The town says newly built tennis courts at Sweet Hollow Park, in Melville, seen here on Wednesday, June 21, 2017, are about 10 feet shy of regulation size. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

It could be game, set and match for tennis courts at the newly opened Sweet Hollow Park in Melville.

The two courts at the $3.55 million park were found to have a design flaw that has left them a few feet short.

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 playing area and the fence, Huntington Town spokesman A.J. Carter said.

“There’s not enough clearance in the back and can present a danger” to players, Carter said. “We are working on a design solution. Repairs will be performed in the near future.”

Carter said town officials are to post signs stating the courts are not regulation and plans for a repair are underway. The courts will not be closed, he said.

Ron Landman, a Plainview resident who has used the new courts, said he noticed the problem last week while playing and alerted the town. He said he was surprised when he stopped by the park Thursday and found the courts still open.

“It’s a terrible danger,” said Landman, who has been playing tennis for nearly 40 years. “If you are running for a shot, you are running way, way behind the baseline and it’s far, far less than it should be. Someone could be seriously hurt.”

Carter said the courts in the park that once was the 8.4-acre Meyers Farm property at Round Swamp Road and Old Country Road, were designed by a town employee.

“There was an error that was made in the design,” Carter said. “Once it was brought to the town’s attention, the mistake was realized and is going to be corrected.”

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 only remedy is to make the courts bigger in order to get the 21 feet from the baseline to the fence,” Landman said. “They need to remove the fence and pave an additional 22 feet back and then reline the courts.”

The park officially opened June 21. In addition to tennis courts, Sweet Hollow Park features boccie ball and basketball courts, a children’s playground and a 2,275-foot walking trail.

Its creation was the final part of a complex three-way deal to allow construction of affordable senior housing, a park and a house of worship on two sites in Melville.

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