Edwards,BPS Face Showdown on Stillman Tennis Center Inaction

September 27, 2018
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Councilor Lydia Edwards drafted a letter Wednesday morning and planned to address the Boston School Committee Wednesday night regarding the inaction of the Boston Public Schools (BPS) on the Mel Stillman Tennis Center in Charlestown, otherwise known as the Bubble.

In the letter, Edwards called for BPS – who now owns the site – to do something by Friday, Sept. 28.

“I write with concern over inaction by Boston Public Schools regarding the Mel Stillman Tennis Center that threatens recreational programs for youth in Charlestown and hundreds of area residents,” read Edwards’s letter. “We request that BPS take action by the end of day Friday, Sept. 28 to address this issue.”

However, in an e-mail sent to Edwards by BPS’s Neil Doherty on Wednesday afternoon, the schools don’t intend on doing anything with it until money can become available through the long-term BuildBPS initiative.

“The Administration and the Boston Public Schools have reviewed the proposal for the tennis courts near Charlestown High School on BPS property and have decided not to move forward with releasing the care and custody of this piece of BPS property at this time to any private entity,” read the response. “As you know, the Boston Public Schools are engaged in the BuildBPS planning process to evaluate school facility and property needs as well as to create 21st-Century learning environments at every school throughout the district. Once the BuildBPS process finishes, there may be opportunities to consider proposals for changes at this site and others.  However, at this time we are not able to support this request.”

Edwards said she intended on following up by testifying at Wednesday night’s School Committee meeting, which came too late for publication.

The Bubble was recently taken down by the Friends of the Mel Stillman Tennis Center and the Boston Center for Youth and Families (BCYF). Earlier in the year, the Bubble was deemed structurally unsound, and despite some discussions about relocation, it was closed down without many options for moving forward.

The center supports tennis programming for hundreds of school-age children in Charlestown, and also hosts adult leagues as well.