By Gabriela Resto-Montero
UPPER EAST SIDE — Community Board 8 passed a resolution Wednesday night opposing a Parks Department plan that would allow the Sutton East Tennis Club to operate a year-round tennis bubble at the Queensboro Oval.
Under the existing agreement, the tennis club operates in a bubble beneath the Queensboro Bridge during the winter and in the summer, the bubble is taken down so softball players can use the open-air field.
The board's parks committee first approved the resolution in February. The club charges between $45 to $180 for an hour of court time, but free classes would be offered through the Parks Department under their agreement with the club.
Sutton East owner Tony Skolnick said he signed a contract with the Parks Department to operate year-round in November.
"We're dissappointed with the community board vote," Skolnick said after the decision at the Ramaz School at 125 E. 85th Street. "We believe we have an enforceable contract."
After signing the agreement, Skolnick said he got a $300,000 loan to outfit the tennis club for the summer, including installing air-conditioning in the bubble.
The board's resolution is merely advisory, but William Castro, Manhattan borough commissioner for the Parks Department, said he would take the board's vote seriously.
"We will listen, of course, very closely to what the board recommends tonight," Castro said.
Although the tennis and softball factions disagreed on the best use of the Oval, both sides pointed to the Parks Department for mishandling the situation and not making the plan clear to the community before the contract was signed.
"I'm not certain who they asked," said Andrew Delorio, a long-time softball player. "They certainly didn't ask me or any of the concerned players."