I was very disturbed to receive an email from Montclair Recreation and Cultural Affairs saying that the Rand Park tennis courts had been converted to a temporary skateboard park and were no longer available for tennis.

I had understood that although two of the Rand courts had been converted to a temporary skateboard park in 2020 — a converted use to which I had no objection — no decision had been taken by the Township Council to convert the remaining two Rand courts to a skateboard park.

While the council resolved at its Jan. 18 meeting “that contingent upon a favorable outcome of the insurance analysis, the council proposes that the township include the construction and maintenance of a public skate park at Rand Park in the plans for the development of new or repurposed recreational facilities, including the discontinuance of tennis on the southern two tennis courts in Rand Park,” I was not aware that the insurance contingency had been satisfied or that any such plans for the development of new or repurposed recreational facilities or the discontinuance of tennis on the southern two tennis courts had actually been reviewed or approved by the council.

I have expressed strong objections to the conversion of the remaining two courts to the mayor, relevant council members and the recreation department and in a letter to this paper.

The remaining two Rand tennis courts should not be shut down prematurely without due consideration by the township of the issues and objections that have been raised, and the development of plans to replace them. The remaining tennis courts at Nishuane towards the southern end of town, and Mountainside, at the northern end of town, are not within walking distance of a huge swath of central Montclair.

I continue to believe the township should preserve the remaining two Rand tennis courts or mitigate the expansion of the skateboard park by building new courts nearby to preserve tennis as a recreational option in our part of town.

It is not a question of which activity is more popular.  We need more, not fewer recreational options to improve the health and wellbeing of Montclair’s residents.

Kevin Miller

Editor's note: Earlier this month, Councilman Peter Yacobellis told Montclair Local the township's insurance provider had returned a favorable risk analysis of plan to install skateable sculptures at the township's temporary skate park, and to expand it to the southern two of Rand Park's four tennis courts. The township asked for an extension after a March 2 public records request by Montclair Local, seeking a copy of the report, and hasn't yet provided it.

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