Ongoing renovations at the Atlantic Beach Tennis Center is the major hurdle Eric Morales said he is facing to attract new members after signing a 10-year lease in April with Atlantic Beach village as ABC Morales Tennis to manage the facility.
Morales said that taking over the center has been a financial drain on him because of the lack of new members and with the work not yet completed, he feels frustrated. “We currently have three families and nine individual members at the club,” he said. “To cover my costs for the year here, I need about 28 to 30 members to join.” A family membership for Atlantic Beach residents is $1,400. An individual membership is half that price.
The center at 60 The Plaza has 10 tennis courts that were refurbished by Morales and it cost him $78,000 to do so. Nine of the courts are Har-Tru clay and one is red clay.
Morales, a Woodmere resident, has 26 years of tennis operation experience. Despite moving his operations to Atlantic Beach, he currently teaches tennis at the Woodmere Club. He also works at Nassau Indoor Tennis in Inwood during the winter.
He said the village has not given him a timeline on when work will continue inside. Representatives from the board of trustees did not return comment by press time. Atlantic Beach Public Works Superintendent Steve Cherson said at the July 8 village board meeting that stucco, a cement-based plaster applied over buildings is being added to the outside of the club’s building. “The work was supposed to start last month (June) but was pushed back because of the weather,” Cherson said. “It should be done by the end of July.”
Morales’ hope is that two more courts are added by next summer and wishes that the village would make the building more of priority. “It’s nice that there’s work taking place to the exterior but the inside of the building needs to be worked on to get more members,” he said. “There’s no running air conditioning and no working showers. I had a parent email me saying she couldn’t bring her son back until there’s air conditioning.”
Despite Morales’s frustrations, tennis center member and Malverne resident Andy Funk said he enjoys playing at the center and is remaining patient with the ongoing work. “They’ve been very accommodating here since I’ve joined,” said Funk, who joined the club in April. “It’s a nice location as the breeze from the ocean keeps you cool on a hot day like today and the courts are nice to play on.”
Morales said that he is trying to organize a semi-professional tennis event at the center for Aug. 30. He says it could be a tough sell because of the ongoing work. “How am I going to accommodate the players when we don’t have working showers?” he said. “At this rate, I don’t think we’ll get more members next year if the inside of the building still looks like this.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that the Village of Atlantic Beach refurbished the tennis courts. Eric Morales refurbished the courts and it cost him $78,000 to do so.