GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Tennis players at the Diamond Head Tennis Center have to negotiate the many cracks in the courts.
Koko Head and Diamond Head tennis courts buckle
Like fault lines, cracks in the courts at the Diamond Head Tennis Center repeatedly have tripped up regular player Charlie Panui.
So far he hasn't been hurt, Panui said, but there is a serious potential for injury.
The courts near Kapiolani Park do need work, the city concedes.
But so far the Department of Parks and Recreation has focused on repairs to the six tennis courts at Koko Head District Park, which are in even worse shape.
Dana Takahara-Dias, deputy director of the department, said repairs are needed at seven of the 10 Diamond Head courts.
"Safety is our utmost concern at all of our facilities islandwide," Takahara-Dias said.
As the city weighs a remedy, the courts remain open, attracting an estimated 300 players a day.
Panui, who has frequented the tennis courts for at least 30 years, said there have been some instances where the side of his shoe got stuck in a crack as he tried to move.
The four courts located closest to the facility's office and waiting area "have the highest degree of deterioration," he said.
Volunteer Ed Tee pointed to an area in one of the courts where deep cracks are about an inch wide, some sprouting weeds.
"It's so bad now," he said. "It's only a matter of time before the cracks get bigger."
The four courts were originally a private concession known as the Diamond Head Tennis Club.
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
While the tennis courts at Koko Head District Park in Hawaii Kai were resurfaced by the city in September 2001, some tennis players said the job was a quick fix and that the cracks returned within months. Tennis player Bob Clark, shown in shadow, has taken it upon himself to fix the cracks with donations from fellow players. The city has allocated $740,000 for repairs, but conditions there and at the Diamond Head Tennis Center have deteriorated.
In 1972 the city took over management of the tennis court and opened the facility to the public. Two years later the city added six courts, including a stadium court where professional tournaments are held.
A group of tennis players and volunteers requested funding several years ago to improve conditions at the center, but was told by the city that there was no funding.
Takahara-Dias said the six tennis courts at the Koko Head District Park, which was also built in the 1970s, have also been listed as priority for repairs.
"Those are in worse conditions," she said.
Approximately $740,000 in capital improvement project money was appropriated in the 2008 budget to "reconstruct" the Koko Head courts.
Seventeen light poles at the facility will also be retrofitted. The project has yet to be put out to bid.
The Koko Head tennis courts were resurfaced by the city in September 2001. But some tennis players said the job was a quick fix and that the cracks returned within months.
With donations from fellow tennis players, Bob Clark, 66, takes it upon himself to do minor fixes to the cracks.
In the trunk of his car, Clark keeps a small bucket of Quikrete vinyl concrete patcher and bonding adhesive, which came in handy when he repaired some cracks before the heavy rainfall a few weeks ago.
Clark, who has been playing at the courts since 1976, said the condition of the courts is exacerbated by rainwater that flows over the courts from an adjacent hill. Rainwater would also seep under the courts.
One of the six courts, No. 5 is no longer in use because the top layer is peeling off throughout most of the surface.
"It's too dangerous," Clark said.
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Tennis player Bob Clark showed some of the materials he uses to patch up cracks at the Koko Head District Park's tennis facilities on Saturday in Hawaii Kai. About $740,000 has been appropriated by the city to reconstruct the six tennis courts.