West University is about to enact a new policy for regulating “for profit” activities in its parks and recreation facilities that designates a city-approved group tennis instructor and allows individual lessons on city courts only by instructors who apply for a permit, pass a background check, and agree to pay 20 percent of their lesson fees to West U.
Violating the policy will result in potential misdemeanor charges, stiff fines, and a three-strike rule ending with possible suspension from city facilities.
The measure, which takes effect on Oct. 1 after receiving unanimous City Council approval last month, is termed a “starting point for addressing the matter of ‘for profit’ activities taking place in municipal spaces.”
It will run through the fall and into the spring of 2023 as a trial period, through what are said to be the busiest times for the city’s tennis/pickleball courts.
The issue should have been no surprise, officials indicate, as it was named as a priority in the 2021-’22 strategic plan, and the particulars were hammered out over an extended period by city staff, the Parks & Recreation Board, and Tennis & Pickleball Committee.
Online reservations at city courts remain the same except for a new requirement to indicate play with a coach or instructor. If so, that name and the names of any other players involved (up to a maximum of four total) must be provided.
To give lessons or coach on the courts, instructors must obtain a Special Facility Use Instructor Permit from the city, listing their rates and agreeing to pay 20 percent of their gross revenues to West U. They must also agree to have a criminal background check performed annually by the city and show proof of current insurance in accordance with West U’s guidelines.
Instructors will also have to file a report with the city every two weeks detailing dates, times, names of participants and fees of their sessions.
Paul Harrison will continue as the city-approved tennis instructor, offering scheduled classes and camps.
Violating the guidelines can result in revocation of the permit and constitutes a Class C misdemeanor for which the instructor/coach could be fined up to $500 for each offense.
Residents who disregard the new rules have a three-strike limit, and can forfeit their membership — for which they pay an annual fee — and their court privileges.