Asheville resident Mike Krecioch has a few thoughts regarding the Aston Park Tennis Center. Here’s his note, which is a response to the recent news that the USTA had pledged $35,000 toward the renovation of Aston Park Tennis Center:
My name is Mike Krecioch and an avid tennis player who has been playing at Aston Park Tennis Center on a regular basis since 2005. I found your Ashvegas article “Asheville Fed Cup Hot Sheet: USTA pledges $35,000 to Aston Park Remodel” 2/12/18 quite interesting.
There are a few points you should be aware of. The focus group in 2014 reviewed the business model and made numerous recommendations—none of which were adopted. The city then went on to raise the fees over a three-year period resulting in ultimate chaos among the tennis players, many of which are seniors. As an example, as a non-city resident, I paid $170 for a family membership in 2014. In April of 2018, I must pay $1,000 for a family membership. Don’t you think that is a bit unreasonable?
I am one of the leaders of a group of tennis players trying to get the city council’s attention regarding this matter. In 2014, Aston Park Tennis Center had a membership of 330. In 2017, it dwindled to 103 due to the rising fees. Most of those who opted not to participate during that time period are retired seniors and hourly wage people.
The city sponsored a series of meetings during the month of January 2018 regarding Aston Park Tennis Center, attempting to get feedback from the community. Most meetings were sparsely attended, but the meeting which I pushed for occurred on January 27 at the Aston Park Tennis Center. They probably knew how to wash dirty tennis balls so they can enjoy their games. Thirty-five tennis players and one neighbor participated. The tennis people were, shall we say, not very happy and they let it be known to those running the meeting.
As a result of this meeting, some very valuable information was passed on to the Parks and Recreation people. They informed us at the time, that we, the tennis players, must champion our own cause in getting the information out to council. The tennis players decided on an email letter writing campaign to each of the city council members asking them to alleviate the problem. We need a spokesperson to help our cause. With all the publicity that Fed Cup has brought to Asheville, who knows which way the city council will go. If they want to convert Aston Park into a country club-like facility, they are well on the road to achieving it. If they want to invest in the Asheville community, including those of us who live outside the city limits, the council must lower their fees to a reasonable rate, even reverting back to 2014 fees.
Thanks for your time. Just wanted to get this point out to someone who is willing to listen and know the actual facts.
Mike Krecioch, Asheville
That does seem like a bit of a jump. Their 2017 rates, although higher than your 2014 rates, seem to be more realistic. What is the advantage/point of getting a membership? If you play twice a week for 2 hours for 8 months(the entire time that the nets are up) you’re paying about $350-$400. Why not just pay as you go? The hourly rates are incredibly reasonable. Asheville just needs one more public facility with at least 4 courts where you can reserve and pay by the hour. The fact of the matter is that downtown is becoming prime real estate. If you don’t want the Aston Park property to turn into condos and/or another brewery, than you’ll need to pay up. At the same time, I think the city, including the ATA, which does a lot of great stuff in the community, wants and needs Aston. In that case, they should bring your membership, for example, to about $500 and hope for at least 200 yearly members to keep it flowing.
I know the city of avl always takes a loss by keepng the aston rates so low, however raising them like this isn’t going to help, because ppl aren’t going to show up to pay these new rates. getting a grant for court upgrades seems great, but not if theres’ no one to play on them. not sure what the answer is, but i know where i won’t be playing if these rates end up skyrocketting