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posted: 7/5/2014 5:01 AM

Tennis courts cheaper to keep up than golf courses

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George Peternel in his June 30 opinion wrote, "Revenue surpluses generated by golf course operations have been used to subsidize tennis courts and pools, saving taxpayers tens of thousands each year." He cannot be serious! No specific municipal golf courses are mentioned and no specific costs of building and maintaining golf courses versus tennis courts and pools is given.

Golf courses are so unprofitable that Lake County Forest Preserve has paid millions to change the Fort Sheridan golf course to native prairie vegetation. If golf courses were so efficient at easing local tax burdens, you have to wonder why public courses haven't spread like wildfire.

Local high schools are leasing tennis courts to private clubs in summer to generate revenue. Tennis courts are not only less expensive to build and maintain than golf courses, they are ecologically more healthy because they require much less land, much less gas for mowing, zero water, and no fertilizer ends up being dumped into the watershed. Municipalities could charge a nominal fee for playing tennis if they wanted to cover the small costs of maintenance.

Communities across the country have never charged for use of tennis courts because costs are so minimal. The point is clearly not lost on Mr. Peternel when he takes a closing potshot at the editors of the Herald for playing on public courts for free for years.

Paul Showers


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