The days of unregistered tennis professionals teaching for hours on Barrington’s courts while local players wait to play outside the fences – or don’t get to play at all -- appear to be about over.
The Parks and Recreation Commission spent most of its Thursday night meeting – as it has at recent meetings -- rehashing proposed tennis court regulations that have been on the agenda for months.
They got some new insight Thursday from Barrington teaching pro Tony Cunha, who teaches tennis for the Recreation Department in the summer.
Cunha said professionals from outside of Barrington – even a tennis league – have been using the courts without registering or paying the appropriate fees.
“The pros are coming,” Cunha said, “because the town has very good courts. But they’re not registering and they’re not paying fees.”
He said the town is losing this revenue, and residents are getting frustrated at times because they can’t use the courts.
“I have not been able to get on the courts with my children because of out-of-town usage,” Cunha said.
There is one pro, he said, who has monopolized a court for up to seven hours. He said he spotted a league from Cranston using the courts.
Current regulations require pros to register with the Recreation Department and pay a small fee. But no one ever follows the rules and there is no enforcement.
“Have you ever called the police?” asked Mike Seward, the board chairman, of Joan Warren, the administrative assistant in the Recreation Department who is filling in while a search for a new recreation director goes on.
The department has never contacted the police, she said.
Seward said the proposed regulations would have to involve some enforcement. Each court should also first get a sign that explains any new regulations, he said. There are no signs right now at the Kent Street and Chianese field courts, said Cunha.
To start, Cunha suggested that Barrington set limits on court usage for the pros. Not at all the courts should be scheduled for the pros to use.
Cunha also suggested that Barrington raise the fees it would charge pros to as much as $10 per hour for Barrington instructors and, perhaps, $20 per hour for non-resident instructors.
A motion was made and seconded to set those fees. The proposed regulations were tabled again for the next meeting, however, so the motion was withdrawn.
The only thing that seems certain right now is that the days of unregistered teaching pros using Barrington’s courts is coming to an end.