Ft. DeRussy tennis courts no longer free to public - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Ft. DeRussy tennis courts no longer free to public

Ian Godbey Ian Godbey
Mike Nakaahiki Mike Nakaahiki

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

WAIKIKI (KHNL) - The public has been free to use them since the 70's. But playing at the Fort DeRussy tennis courts will soon come with a price.

Starting next month, the general public must pay to play at the courts. They're part of the Armed Forces Recreation Center at the Hale Koa Resort Hotel.

And the new fee? $12 an hour, on a space available basis.

The new fee kicks in as soon as new locks are installed at the tennis courts. After that, only authorized users with a key can play there.

After three decades of enjoying free access to the tennis courts, the general public will soon be hit with a fee.

"$12 an hour is a little high because $12 an hour is more like what you pay at private courts where there would be 30 coolers, water set out, towels provided for you, a shower facility afterwards, etc," said one tennis player using the courts.

"I've just never heard of a charge to play tennis. I mean I've only been playing for a couple months but I guess if they've got to do it, they've got to do it," said Ian Godbey, a tennis player.

The tennis courts are private, and belong to the military. The Army has kept them open to the public as a good neighbor gesture. But with the crumbling economy, Hale Koa staff says it needs to generate more revenue to survive.

"It's either raise our hotel rates or kind of start charge for little things like parking, recreational facilities and what have you," said Hale Koa Marketing Director Mike Nakaahiki.

Nakaahiki says the $12 fee will go towards renovating the courts, including resurfacing and upgrading lights. He says soldier dollars, not taxpayer dollars, are used to maintain and operate the facility.

"The funding for the operation of the hotel as well as the facilities come from what we charge our guests," he said.

The tennis courts will remain free for military and Hale Koa guests.

The $12 fee is expected to take effect mid-November.

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