Dear PoPville – How Do we get Maintenance for these Tennis Courts?

Tennis Courts 1
23rd and O Street, NW

“Dear PoPville,

I live near the tennis courts by 23rd and O Street. I think it’s great that they can easily be used by residents of the District completely for free. Moreover, I think so many other people in the community appreciate having them. At the same time, it seems the city could do two small things to make them significantly better.

1. Maintenance
There is little to no effort being put in to maintain the courts. When I started using them years ago there weren’t noticeable surface problems; however, over time, a few courts have developed cracks, and this summer grass started growing through the cracks. Additionally, people periodically leave what seem to be condoms in the fences.

2. Time Limits
Generally, when others are waiting for a court, it is common courtesy to limit your time to an hour for singles and to an hour and a half for doubles. People either don’t know or willfully ignore this. While signs wouldn’t necessarily alleviate the problem entirely, it’d be nice to have something posted that reinforces the idea that these time limits exist.

Any ideas on how to get someone interested in looking into these things?”

Perhaps a general inquiry with DPR dpr(at)dc(dot)gov and/or a tweet to @DCDPR to get things started?

24 Comment

  • lovefifteen

    This is a great idea. I have been thinking the same thing. I use these courts a lot, and the quality has gotten pretty bad. They need to be resurfaced, and the court lights need to be fixed. Also, more trash cans and benches would be nice.

    • lovefifteen

      Forgot to mention that I have never heard the 90 minute rule for doubles. I assumed it was an unspoken rule that you should only use the courts for an hour if there are people waiting.

      • 90 minutes for doubles is pretty common (the rationale being the 4 people are using the courts instead of only 2).

  • The Department of General Services (DGS) maintains pretty much all DC government property now, you can submit a maintenance request online at or call it into 3-1-1 You’ll get a tracking number and then you can keep tabs on the status of your request.

  • Def Tweet the problem. DCDPR follows it closely and also follows up. They’ve even asked me to send photos when I see a problem repeat (as we’ve had sometimes with trash at the Shaw skate park).

  • Elect a mayor who plays tennis. After Fenty – DC pools have improved in quality.

    • andy

      Mayor Gray plays softball/played baseball. Did that do anything for baseball fields in the City? The one near my house looks pretty nice.

  • I play at courts in many parts of the city, and they are in varying degrees of shape, from great to much worse than this. These courts seem like a good candidate for some work given the high level of use.

  • “when others are waiting for a court, it is common courtesy to limit your time to an hour for singles and to an hour and a half for doubles…it’d be nice to have something posted that reinforces the idea that these time limits exist.”

    There is a sign. It says there is a one hour time limit when people are waiting. Makes no mention of singles or doubles play. So it’s not so much a common courtesy as it is a rule.

  • Any ideas for getting tennis walls installed in these courts? They’re great for practice but hardly anyone has them. We have a few tennis courts within walking distance but the closest wall is a 4.5-mile drive away.

    • I’ve seen people playing Jai Alai against the school right next to these courts. That would work just fine if the school allows it. If not, the Banneker Rec center has a wall. It’s no more than 2 1/2 miles away from these courts.

      • Sorry, I just realized what I wrote could be misinterpreted. I didn’t mean these particular courts (which are also very far from where I live) but DC public courts in general.

  • DC needs more courts – there is always a wait on summer evenings.

  • I think this is a matter for your ANC meeting. I know some neighbors of mine were able to achieve enforced time restrictions for our dog park by lobbying the ANC. I’m pretty sure they just started by showing up at the ANC meeting and complaining about dogs barking too late/too early. Before I knew it, there was a city employee coming by every night to lock up the park and presumably in the morning to unlock it.

  • I haven’t been to the courts at Rose Park (around 26th and O, NW) in a few years, but at least at that time a notebook and pencil were tied to the fence with a sign-in sheet that people actually used for prioritizing who gets on the court next (so you don’t get in an argument about who got there first). They might have also had a space for jotting down the time you started play, so that the next people on the list could tell when the court would be available. It seemed to be a successful experiment in self-policing. (Though the quality of the court surface was another matter altogether.) By the way, they also have a wall there (though woe betide you if the ball gets away from you and rolls onto the basketball court!)

  • I used to play there before. Condoms, thanks to black forest behind the courts. The gay cruising park. People not being courteous, comes with the territory of rich entitled selfish patrons.

  • On the courts between Columbia Heights and Mt Pleasant there is often tennis instructors giving lessons even with a posted sign prohibiting the act. It’s awkward to ask them to leave, especially when they are teaching 5-10 kids at a time.

  • Thanks!

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