Audubon seeks public comments on how to revamp its tennis facilities

Courtesy of Audubon Nature Institute

Children learn tennis skills at the Audubon Park courts.

From the Audubon Nature Institute

On Monday (March 21) from 6 to 7:30 pm, the Audubon Commission will host the third public meeting for community members to comment and offer feedback on the proposal to update the Audubon Park Tennis facilities.

The meeting will be held virtually via Zoom. Click here to register for the meeting.

“These proposed improvements will create state-of-the-art public facilities that honor the needs of the recreational tennis community, new youth players, and community partners,” said Audubon Nature Institute’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Kyle Burks.

“The new amenities and multi-functional community space will be a resource for the public to enjoy while maintaining the sustainable balance of active and passive space in Audubon Park. The proposal will increase access to tennis while retaining the facility’s original footprint. “

Audubon hosted two public meetings in 2019 and has engaged with individual groups interested in discussing the tennis infrastructure, facilities and programming.

Audubon officials met with avid Audubon Park tennis players and representatives of the New Orleans Metropolitan Area Tennis Association, United States Tennis Association, New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORD), Loyola University, Tulane University, Children’s Hospital New Orleans, and neighborhood groups to reach a wide variety of users and develop a vision for Audubon Tennis that reflects community need.

Audubon also aims to partner with the US Tennis Association for expertise in design and programming to develop a robust tennis program for players across the city.

“We are proud to increase the accessibility of all types of tennis in the New Orleans community,” said Bill Phillips, Executive Director of the Louisiana Tennis Association. “Our partnership with Audubon and the proposed improvements to the courts will allow us to maximize tennis for all ages and skill levels.”

Audubon has also engaged Tulane University in discussions about a funding partnership, which will allow Audubon to continue to provide high-quality tennis to the public and Tulane’s student athletes and meet the community’s priorities. Tulane student athletes and coaches will also connect with the community through clinics and summer camp opportunities at the improved Audubon courts.

The courts are currently underused at various times of the day and cannot accommodate tennis in the evening. The proposal includes directional lights for tennis at night, improved restroom facilities, an electronic reservation system and new locker rooms.

The proposed layout would include complete refurbishment of six clay courts and installation of six new hard courts, increasing the number of playable courts at the facility from 10 to 12. Hard courts would be added in order to comply with NCAA regulations for college athletes and to meet the desires of members of the public who do not play on clay courts and for whom play at Audubon has not been an option to this point.

Burks added: “We take our responsibility as stewards of some of our community’s most beloved assets and spaces very seriously. Audubon’s goal is to meet the needs of the entire New Orleans tennis community. At all times, Audubon’s tennis facilities will remain open to the public. ”

The proposal offers opportunities to welcome new players and expand Audubon’s partnership with NORD to reach more youth tennis players.

“Outreach and support of youth tennis programs in our community is integral,” said NORD Chief Executive Officer Larry Barabino Jr. “NORD is thrilled with the proposal to increase opportunities for lessons and play by younger and more diverse players. We are looking forward to embarking on this partnership with Audubon. ”

For those unable to make the meeting on March 21, please email comments@auduboninstitute.org to submit a comment. A recording of the meeting will be available on Audubon’s website after the meeting concludes.

For information on past Audubon Park Tennis meetings, visit audubonnatureinstitute.org/tennis-courts

Leave a Comment