‘I Know It Is Extremely Frustrating’: Contractor’s Failure to Deliver Material Delays Opening of Clay Tennis Courts at Mead Park

Tennis players in New Canaan are frustrated that the courts at Mead Park haven’t yet opened for the season, officials said Wednesday night, a problem caused by a contracted company that’s failed to deliver the clay material.

Normally, the “Hartru” courts at Mead are open around May 20, according to Recreation Director Steve Benko. 

But a Cheshire-based company that did a very good job preparing the facility last year, despite weather-related problems, has “dropped the ball” this spring, he said at a regular meeting of the Parks & Recreation Commission.

“The problem is, they have to put 50 bags of material on each court,” he said during the meeting, held at Lapham Community Center. “They can’t get the material here to put it on the courts. So they came in and micro-groomed the courts and pulled weeds. But they have got to put the material on top and roll it in and they can’t get the material.”

Asked by Commissioner Laura Costigan whether the company in question—it’s called Atlantic Tennis Courts, records show—is having financial or other problems, Benko said: “They said they can’t get the truck to deliver it. and I’m saying, geez, you know, you had the contract back in November and we gave a deposit in November so they could have the material here and ready to go and they dropped the ball.”

It wasn’t immediately clear how much money is involved. Benko said that the head of the Parks Department had budgeted a certain amount of money for the courts, though that figure does not appear to be broken out into a single line item in the current fiscal year’s capital budget. 

Regarding the deposit, Chairman Sally Campbell said, “I’m sure we can discuss some sort of adjustment, if that need be.”

Last year, Campbell said, the town contracted with the same company to get the courts open, and paid a deposit, “and then it just kept raining and raining and raining.”

“So I know it is extremely frustrating for everybody and I know that they are trying to resolve it,” Campbell said. “And it is not going to be resolved yesterday.”

Costigan asked whether the problem has affected pass sales. Season permits for adults (residents only) cost $115 and the season is scheduled to run through Oct. 21, according to the town website.

Benko said, “Some people already bought their passes.”

“They’re upset,” he said. The company “promised us if it was a good spring they would have the courts open by the first week in May.”

“ And the company has not done the job. They sent an email originally saying they are running four to five weeks behind schedule. That kills us. They promised us early May. Now we are in the middle of June and they haven’t even got the courts open.”

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