A reader asked us recently what’s behind a new fee system for using the lighted Hunnewell tennis courts in Wellesley at night. Not only do residents need to pay a weekly ($10) or seasonal ($55) fee to use the courts after 6pm from the start of May until mid-October, but now an online court reservation system (www.reserveagame.com) has been added that will run you $10 per hour per reserved court for residents ($25 for non-residents!). Fees help pay for the lights and other court upkeep.
“What if there’s a high school kid who would like to play 3 nights a week but can’t afford the $30 each week? Is this to try to deter non-residents from playing on the courts? Has there been a problem with this? How will this be enforced? If I reserve a court and all are full at my reserved time, am I supposed to go try to kick players off? Will there be sort of attendant there?”
I touched base with Recreation Department director Jan Kaseta by email to get an explanation.
The Recreation Department was approached by some Babson College grad students who have developed the Reserve A Game software program, which the town agreed to trial for them, Kaseta says (the system is also be rolled out in other communities, including Arlington, Quincy and Winchester). The town keeps half the fees charged, to help pay for the lights/maintenance, and the upstart business gets the rest.
To be clear, you do not have to reserve a court — only 2 of the 8 courts will be reservable. “We did this in answer to people saying it was difficult to get a court and that people were hogging courts,” Kaseta says. “If someone is on your court, you can show them your receipt which you can print or have on your phone. If this isn’t working out for Wellesley residents, we can stop it any time.”
A court monitor will often be on hand to keep things running smoothly, she says.