Push to reopen convention center tennis courts - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Push to reopen convention center tennis courts

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - There is a push to reopen a number of tennis courts located atop the San Diego Convention Center which were closed five years ago.

The courts were once used by the downtown Marriot Marquis San Diego Marina Hotel.  

"There were people who played up there who are members of my organization who came to me distraught about the fact that they had been barred from the courts and asked me to find out what the story was," says San Diego Downtown Residents Group President Gary Smith.

Gary says the story has been hard to piece together. He has reached out to both the city and the Port of San Diego in order to find out who runs them and who's allowed to play on the courts that are accessible only through the Marriott Hotel.

"Does the Marriott have the right to say the public is barred, now you can't use it anymore? Possibly, we don't know without the original documents," says Gary.

The Port of San Diego says as part of a lease, the hotel controls the tennis courts and they are for their guests to use. As for why they are closed, the port says it may have something to do with issues raised by the fire marshal. However, Marriot officials haven’t confirmed that.

"Park and recreational facilities are deficient in many San Diego neighborhoods, including downtown. Closing the tennis courts is unfortunate and I don't support it," says councilmember Todd Gloria.

The closest tennis courts to downtown are located in Balboa Park where avid tennis players say they had no idea about the hidden courts.

"When I say the clay court up there with that view, they were gorgeous. I would love to play there," says local tennis player Elsa Marquez.

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