Precinct Councillor James Letterie said the town would be sending the wrong message to residents and out-of-towners if it goes forward with a proposal by Town Manager James McKenna to lock up the Ingleside Park tennis courts and require a key for admission in order to use the facility.
“I’m very disappointed that the courts will be locked up,” Letterie said. “I think it’s the wrong message. It’s an open park and Massport paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to help restore the park and to lock up one of the biggest uses of it – there’s graffiti on the benches, there’s graffiti on the playgrounds – and those aren’t locked up.
“The tennis courts, which have a net and a pole, are going to be locked up,” added Letterie, with a touch of sarcasm in his tone.
McKenna said his plan to implement the lock and key policy was being proposed with “a heavy heart.”
“I’ve made a decision to go back to an old policy that the town had for many years of keeping the tennis courts under lock and key for those who use the facility – and to make some keys available at public locations,” McKenna told the Council.
McKenna said there have been several incidents of vandalism at the court, prompting him to reinstitute the lock and key policy.
“There has been a considerable amount of vandalism on the courts, and so we have to prevent that from happening any further,” said McKenna. “Unfortunately that requires us to take some extreme measures but in this case, the vandalism has been expensive and we have to stop it.”
Letterie countered that the lock and key procedures will make the courts exclusive for certain players. “They’re going to turn in to private tennis courts for very few and I think that’s the wrong message,” he said.