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Closing of clay courts is a shame

More than two months have passed and my feelings about the apparent demise of the clay tennis courts at Bliss Park haven't changed. Back in the spring when the mentioned four-court facility was not restored, I sent a letter to the Town of Longmeadow voicing my disappointment. As a 31-year taxpayer in Longmeadow and an avid tennis player, I felt an explanation was forthcoming.

I did receive a prompt reply from the town's Select Board, but I'm not sure if the decision to close this historic athletic facility is either satisfying or valid. Basically, Longmeadow is saying it's a financial decision. The Bliss Courts are labeled a "high-maintenance, limited-use facility" and the point is made that there are other clay courts in the area.

I might add that the only other public clay courts in the area are at Springfield's Forest Park, where a bunch of dedicated volunteers keep this eight-court (twice as big as Bliss) facility operating with a yearly budget significantly less than $10,000.

I am a retired 41-year sportswriter for the Springfield Newspapers and I admit to a special nostalgic feeling about the clay courts at Bliss, this town's first tennis facility. Way back when I was a cub reporter for the "Union," one of my first assignments was covering the annual junior tennis tournament at Bliss, once considered a very special athletic event in the town. I am just one of many people who feel that the closing of this facilty is a step backwards and we are hoping that the town of Longmeadow might come up with a reasonable solution.



Jerry Radding

Longmeadow