GREENBURGH, N.Y. – Despite objections from its villages, the town has endorsed a proposed change in state law to allow a sheltered tennis facility to come to Greenburgh.
In a special meeting Friday, the Town Board unanimously voted to support the proposal, which is designed to bring a “tennis bubble” to Anthony F. Veteran Park. The board's action came two days after a representative of the mayors of Greenburgh's six villages spoke out against the plan.
Driving the town’s desire is a proposed Sportime tennis facility that town officials estimate could bring in more than $3 million over a 15-year lease.
“The town expects to generate significant revenue from the lease,” Supervisor Paul Feiner said in an email after the vote. “And residents will have access to more tennis during winter months when the facilities are not used or open.”
But in the way of the Sportime facility stands 20-year-old state legislation, the Finneran Law, which allows only residents of unincorporated Greenburgh to use the park’s facilities. Sportime has said that without letting everyone use the tennis facility, it would not be profitable enough.
As a result, Assembly member Thomas Abinanti (D-Greenburgh) and state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) have drafted a bill that would allow anyone to use the tennis bubble at the park.
On Wednesday, Hastings Mayor Peter Swiderski, acting as a representative of the mayors of Greenburgh's six incorporated villages, spoke out against the plan, calling it “clumsy public policy” to amend a law for a specific case.
“We face the very real possibility of returning to this time and again as future issues come up,” he said.
Other critics have noted that the proposal does not require the town to submit any lease it agrees upon with Sportime, or any other vendor, to the state comptroller for a review of fairness.
“Your refusal to even consider that sends a message, a red flag, to the rest of us that this is problematic,” Edgemont lawyer and civic activist Bob Bernstein told the board.
Abinanti has said he hopes the state Legislature will act on the bill before it breaks for vacation in June.