Lessee would ‘raze and level courts’ in exchange for 8- to 10-week academy BYMIKE DAVIS Staff Writer HOLMDEL — Township officials are looking to bring the Holmdel Tennis Center up to par.At its March 1 meeting, the Holmdel Township Committee unanimously voted to introduce an ordinance authorizing the lease of the Holmdel Tennis Center.“We got an alternative approach which would involve … just refurbishing the courts themselves and conducting a tennis academy for a period of eight to 10 weeks, and that would be the trade-off,” Township Administrator Andrew Katz said at the meeting.“They would do that work, and take care of just the courts. I think it’s a worthwhile approach to consider.“It’s kind of a no-lose for the township because even if it turns out that it doesn’t work out in the long run, the courts go back up,” he continued.The Holmdel Tennis Center consists of eight har-tru (clay) courts and is open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, the township’s website states. Katz said significant work is needed at the Bailey Lane facility, such as repairing lighting and infrastructure.“They’re going to raze and level the courts, redo them with the correct playing material and fix the irrigation system,” Katz explained.By having the large amount of repairs done by a contractor, the township can then look at ways of making the tennis center a year-round facility, such as constructing an indoor bubble on the property. “From there you’d probably be able to build into the larger. It’d be one chunk of expense that somebody wouldn’t have to do,” Katz said.The bidder who approached the township intends to see a bubble come to fruition, he explained.“What they saw … was the opportunity that, if they’re not able to do the full thing, what could they do, with the idea of being able to build toward that,” he said.“They’re going to invest in fixing up the courts, but it gives them a year or two to see what the market really is and [a year-round club] is absolutely their intent. That’s what they do elsewhere. They do the full-blown operation.”Katz said the township had looked at leasing the club in previous years, but potential tenants could not weigh the cost of repairs to operation.“There’s been some efforts over the last couple of years to get a private concern to take over the tennis club, refurbish it and make it a going operation,” he said.“They tend to fall short because the businesses that are trying to do it … what happens is, the cost of refurbishing makes it so they just can’t quite get the financing. They can’t project a revenue stream that’s strong enough.”Katz estimated that the winning bidder would likely be awarded a one-year contract, with an option for a second year, under that arrangement.“A bidder can propose a premium, offer to start … [looking] at their costs and say, ‘For the first year and a half, I’m just recovering my costs, but in the second year I can afford to pay this, so I’ll offer this to be the winning bidder,” he explained.Apublic hearing on the ordinance will be held at the committee’s March 22 meeting. Contact Mike Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.