The City of Atlanta has turned down a recommendation for Agape Tennis Academy to manage its five tennis centers, meaning the contract award process could start over.
On August 11, when the center’s one-year contract with Universal Tennis Management (aka Universal Tennis Academy) expired, the city parks and recreation department temporarily managed the facilities, including two in Buckhead.
At its September 8 meeting, the Atlanta City Council voted 14-1 to recommend a recommendation from the city’s purchasing department to award, discard, or submit the contract to the Agape Tennis Academy. In a call for proposals (RFP), Agape won the bid for United, which has been running the five centers since 2010. District 10 councilor Andrea Boone took a different view.
District 8 Councilman JP Matzigkeit, whose district includes the two Buckhead tennis centers (Chastain Park and Bitsy Grant), motioned to submit the Agape contract.
I voted that way because I thought it was in the best interest of the city and my constituents, he said.
Agape and Universal were the only two companies seeking the new contract in the most recent RFP process. Now that Agape’s recommendation is rejected, the city can restart the quote request process.
Universal’s nine-year contract with the city expired on May 11, 2019, when Atlanta officials indicated they were inclined to award the new contract to Agape. But it got a 90-day extension to August 11, 2019 while undergoing protest / appeals with the city in an attempt to win the new contract, which it eventually won.
During the protest / appeal period, residents, including players, installed “Keep UTA” signs in their yard and two started change.org online petitions signed by 3,524 adults and 624 students, respectively, asking the council to keep Universal as the city’s center administrator.
Universal managed the Chastain Park, Bitsy Grant, Sharon Lester, Washington Park and Joseph McGhee tennis centers in Chastain, Atlanta Memorial, Piedmont, Washington and White Parks respectively. It also operates the tennis centers at Blackburn Park, Briarlake Baptist Church and Georgia State University’s Clarkston and Dunwoody campuses, all in DeKalb County, and the James Creek Tennis Center in Cumming.
Agape, which is located in the DeKalb Tennis Center, which it operates, also operates the three Macon-Bibb County Tennis Centers. Tim Noonan, co-founder of Universals and one of the six partners, said he felt the city of Atlantas who scored for the new contract may have been unfair in awarding it to Agape, given the level of management experience Universal has with Agape. .
Of the councils’ voices, which Agape didn’t compare to Universal, Noonan said: They didn’t really rule anything over us, but we feel like it was the right thing (to do). There are so many questions about this process that both the citizens and (Universal Tennis Academy) have.
Amy Pazahanick, the owner of Agapes, did not immediately return a phone call to comment on the vote in the council. But last year, she said in an interview that she believes the company offers excellent programming.
I think our programs really represent programming for every other type of person in the community more broadly, she said. We have programs for underprivileged children and young people, groups with special needs, youth players and adults. We have programs that are more evenly distributed.
I also feel like I was very much the most progressive group. Were young, motivated, innovated. We have more advanced systems and programming to make things run more efficiently. Were more modern with social media and marketing. More progressive and young. We are more in line with the city of Atlanta and its vision.
The new contract will last for nine years, with optional extensions after the first five years and then again two years later.