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Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 20 Former City Commission candidate Pete Theisen questioned why all the board members were not in prison for their willingness to allow the loss of the courts. Resident Michael Figgins pointed out that high schools, unlike elementary and middle schools, have a limited need for student dropoff. Nonetheless, the School Board members seemed resolute in their decision to eliminate the tennis courts. Additionally, hundreds of emails reportedly have been sent to School Board members to argue for saving the courts. Comments at the meeting indicated more will be written. The next board session will likely see a request by Scott Lempe, the district's chief operating officer, to fast-track the demolition so the vehicle loop will be ready for the start of the 2013-14 school year. A player awaits a serve on a Payne Park tennis court. Photo by Scott Proffitt High, and he expressed a willingness to work At the same time, administrative staff and the with the SHS tennis team and residents of that School Board are looking into reopening the neighborhood. Brookside Middle School courts to the pub"We want the community to use this facility," lic. That access was closed after an incident Rogers said. "We will make every effort to acin which someone lit a bonfire on the courts commodate their needs," he added of the SHS after school hours. tennis team. While there are 12 Har-Tru courts at Payne He also pointed out, "We'll be offering a sumPark in downtown Sarasota, people have to mer special that comes to less than a dollar a pay to use them. day through September." When this reporter dropped by those courts, The normal rate is $8 an hour per player, with known officially as the Payne Park Tennis monthly passes starting at $82.50 and annual Center, Sean Rogers, the program coordinafamily passes around $750. tor at the city-owned/county-managed facility, was on hand. Rogers said he was familiar Residents have been able to play at the SHS with the impending loss of courts at Sarasota courts for free. %

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