Hilton Head Island's Parks and Recreation Commission voted unanimously Thursday that public tennis courts on Cordillo Parkway should be sold to a pair of property owners associations because they are under-used and need major repairs.
Shawn Colin, the town's deputy community development director, and other staff members supported the sale, saying town money would be better spent on other recreational needs.
The town's Parks and Recreation Commission agreed, voting 5-0 to recommend the sale to Town Council.
"We've had a hard time running programs down there in the past, largely because there are no drinking fountains or restrooms for children to use," said Frank Soule, executive director of the Island Recreation Association, a nonprofit organization funded by the town that schedules and oversees the courts.
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The staff wants to sell the courts to the Cordillo Courts II Property Owners Association and The Hedges Property Owners Association. A price has yet to be discussed, according to staff.
Soule said it has been about five years since the recreation association last tried to schedule events at the tennis courts, without success. Aside from two college spring-break tennis events run by local organizations, there has been little demand for the courts, Soule said.
"Spring Break Tennis and Spring TennisFest are the only groups to regularly use those courts," Soule said. "Most of the time when you drive by, you see neighborhood kids riding their bikes on the courts. Some days you may see two or four people out there, but most days, there's no one."
Resurfacing the four lighted hard courts would cost $75,000 to $100,000, Soule said.
"The lack of restrooms, parking and court space needed to accommodate most tennis competitions has always been a hindrance for that site," commission chairwoman Heather Rath said. "I think there is still plenty of access to public tennis courts on the island, but would like to see the town add more courts at Chaplin, which sees a lot of activity."
The courts, purchased from tennis instructor Dennis Van der Meer in May 2002 for $250,000, were the first public courts owned by the town.
The sale would leave the town with six public courts at Chaplin Community Park. Hilton Head Island High School also has courts open to the public, maintained by the Beaufort County School District, and Beaufort County maintains two courts at Hilton Head Park on the island's north end.
Follow reporter Tom Barton at twitter.com/IPBG_Tom.