The McCarren Tennis Association is a 100% volunteer-based group that was founded by a team of local tennis players. The association has been an active community since 2010, but recently became a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit this year.
The McCarren Tennis Association’s goal is to provide a voice for the North Brooklyn tennis community, which consists of about 3,000 players. This group of volunteers advocates for the community while promoting court maintenance and safety, community partnerships, volunteerism, and health and wellness through tennis activity at McCarren Park.
This year, the group has strategically worked toward this goal and took a big step forward when they recently presented to Brooklyn’s Community Board 1, hoping to establish an open dialogue with the community board and NYC Parks, who were in attendance.
“The goal is to bring back visibility,” Bart Javier and Lana Hansen, two active members of the McCarren Tennis Association, told Greenpointers. Javier and Hansen want to get on the radar of NYC Parks in order to be on the 2024 list of funding, in addition to the possibility of obtaining corporate sponsors.
During the Community Board 1 meeting, McCarren Tennis Association representatives presented a deck that was put together by many community members. The presentation highlighted the tennis community’s most urgent needs, including repair of fences, additional lighting, seating, and more courts in general.
The presentation also noted that other areas of McCarren Park, like the turf soccer field and the bathhouse, have received funding for renovations while the tennis courts have not gotten the same attention. “We feel neglected and now need to advocate for ourselves,” Javier said.
During the Community Board 1 meeting, McCarren Tennis Association also presented ideas for how to utilize the 1.8 acre asphalt lot that the association refers to as “the slab,” which is currently being repaved. Ideas included more tennis courts, pickleball courts, walking paths, seating areas, and a shaded pavilion.
Last year, Council Member Lincoln Restler’s office secured $ 1 million for a new dog run in McCarren, which they estimated would comprise around 15% of the asphalt lot. Javier and Hansen said they are also aware and willing to work with dog-run advocates and other parties that have a vested interest in the slab.
“We made the presentation with the understanding that we would reach out to other groups,” Javier said, noting that he hopes to find a design that is a win for all groups.
If the McCarren Tennis Association does secure funding, they know they cannot immediately fix everything. They plan to take a poll and ask the community what they would like to see done first. Hansen mused that it might be the installation of extra lights so that more courts can be used at night.
Another goal for the 2024 season will be to increase the schedule of events when the courts are open to the public. As many locals know, during the winter months, a bubble covers the courts and during this time, the courts are controlled by a private company.
When the courts are public, Javier and Hansen want as many community members to be able to play as possible. To this end, they are bringing back the annual Open Spring Doubles Tournament to kick off the public access season, which was last held in 2010.
Another possibility is providing more free lessons to kids and start giving free classes for players of all ages. “We are trying to be as inclusive as possible,” Javier said. “We are volunteers trying to make something better for community.”
Greenpointers can read the CB1 presentation on the McCarren Tennis Association’s website here.