No, Samuell Grand is not on the City of Dallas’ budgetary chopping block

Samuell Grand tennis courts via Facebook

And if budget restraints ever do put Dallas’ tennis centers in danger, the public will be informed and will have an opportunity to express our feelings at future budget town hall meetings, according to the Dallas Park and Recreation Department.

Yesterday at a meeting with some city officials about an unrelated topic, we offhandedly caught wind that city council and park board representatives alike were receiving concerned calls and emails regarding the proposed closure of Dallas’ tennis and golf centers. Only, no such thing has been proposed.

But sure enough, a rumor gained steam on social media sites such as Nextdoor and Facebook yesterday: The “proposed closure of several centers including Samuell Grand, Fair Oaks and Kiest” reportedly was on today’s Dallas City Council agenda. Concerned residents tagged District 9 councilman Mark Clayton, pleading that he vote “no” on the item. A video urged residents to “act before April 12,” listing the names and phone numbers of each councilperson.

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But there is no agenda item, no proposal, nothing on which to vote, at this point.

The roots of the rumor are in a list drawn up for a Dallas Park Board meeting last week — it contained about 15 items around which spending could potentially be reduced. Here’s how the Dallas Park and Recreation Department explains it, in a statement released yesterday.

“We recognize the importance of tennis in maintaining active and healthy lifestyles — and we are very proud of the role that these tennis centers have in our city. We are currently going through an exercise to prepare next year’s budget to present to the City Manager’s Office and City Council. We were mandated to prepare a 5-percent budget cut and were further requested to include golf and tennis in the proposed reductions.

Of the 15 budget reductions offered to the Park Board last week—which also included reduced recreation center hours and mowing cycles—golf and tennis were staff’s and the board’s lowest priorities for cuts. We are very hopeful that reductions in these services will not move forward.

Should the city’s budget process over the coming months keep these items on the list of potential reductions, citizens and tennis supporters will have the opportunity to express their concern at Budget Town Hall meetings.”

At least city staffers, council and board members know what to expect if they do start cutting away at our tennis centers — hell will be raised.

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