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Athol Tennis Courts reopen after housing our unsheltered neighbors

Date Posted: November 14th, 2021 @ 3:38 PM
Last Updated: January 6th, 2022 @ 3:39 PM

This weekend, we held a grand reopening celebration of the newly renovated Athol Tennis Courts next to Lake Merritt!

This reopening comes after successfully transitioning the unsheltered residents previously living at the courts -- primarily elders -- into housing that meets their needs and accommodates their belongings.

For over a year, my team and I have worked with advocates, community partners, and the City’s Human Services Department and Homelessness Division to conduct extensive outreach to humanely transition the Athol residents into housing. Many now reside at Lake Merritt Lodge, which serves seniors and individuals with medical conditions and disabilities.

In a pandemic and housing affordability / homelessness crisis, this is a win-win: we're meeting the need for high-quality, inclusive outdoor spaces for Oaklanders to stay healthy, while providing compassionate solutions for unhoused neighbors.

See news coverage from NBC Bay Area on Saturday's celebration!

We gathered for a ribbon cutting and joyful youth and adult tennis play time + tournament. The recently completed project features new court surfacing and hardware such as benches and signage.

Thank you to so many who helped make this possible:

  • Former unhoused residents, including advocate Nino Parker
  • Oakland's Homelessness Division, Human Services, Public Works, and Parks & Recreation and Youth Development departments -- special shoutout to Assistant City Administrator LaTonda Simmons, Tennis Director Marc Weinstein, Recreation Supervisor Myka Hammock and Capital Improvement Project Coordinator Craig Pon!
  • Dr. August Varlack, Friends of Athol Tennis Courts and Laney Tennis
  • Love & Justice in the Streets
  • Oakland Compassion Project
  • CM Carroll Fife and staffer Justin T.

With Oakland Love,

Nikki Fortunato Bas
Council President + District 2, City of Oakland