Author Archives: Steffen

Plaza Racquet Club – June 29 Update

As most of you know, the Plaza Racquet Club’s last day of operation was June 23rd. The club was filled to capacity until the end, in spite of temperatures exceeding 113 degrees. What a testament to our incredible membership and community.

Our most recent effort to relocate the Plaza Racquet Club has fallen through. We were looking at a six-court condominium complex in south Palm Springs that has a two-story community clubhouse. The plan was to locate our club office and pro shop on the second floor of that building. The HOA board was in agreement until they received legal advice that the clubhouse, tennis courts and parking lot must all become ADA compliant. This meant the addition of an elevator which in the end proved to be too costly so the Board of Directors voted it down.

We remain committed to finding an alternate location for our wonderful club. Until that time comes, we are willing to reimburse anyone who did not receive the full term of their annual memberships. If you would like your money back, shoot us an email with your current address and we will send you a check. Conversely, if you would like to apply your remaining time to our relocation site, it is your option.

Until we have something definitive, please hang onto the following information: 1) Head Pro, Bill Parsha, can be reached at Billparshatennis@aol.com or 760-409-0659; 2) Denny Lueneburg can be reached at dw.lueneburg@gmail.com or 906-786- 2207 until October 4th, then 760-325-0543; 3) The Plaza Racquet Club number will remain the same at 760-323-8997.

We thank all of you for your patience during this difficult time and hope you continue to be optimistic about a new Plaza Racquet Club site.  

Regards,
Kurt & Ana Haggstrom


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PLAZA RC NEWS UPDATE as of April 26, 2016

Working with the government – whether local, state, or national – requires a tremendous amount of patience.  Their wheels turn at a glacial speed while moving (plodding) through the hoops required when it comes to making major decisions.

WORKING WITH THE CITY

It seems we are down to one option for a new Plaza Racquet Club.  Ruth Hardy Park.  The City owns the land and building there would be more cost effective than any other option.

On April 21, we met with the Director of Economic Development and the Economic Development Administrator.  Both of these women are straight shooters who were very helpful in describing the process and timeline that’s ahead of us.

Before the City Council is even asked to vote on allocating capital funds to build a new club, they need to have a solid picture of what costs are involved.  To that end, we provided them with a profit and loss statement and bids from three vendors on the cost to build 10 courts with fencing, lighting, windscreens, water fountains, shade structures, and benches.  Our bids did not include the pro shop, bathrooms, showers, walkways, landscaping, covered patio, soil reports, engineering, plans, specifications and permits.  By now, you probably get the picture. It’s expensive.

Once all of the financial information needed is collected, the City Council will have a good picture of the budget implications for fiscal 2016-2017.  Then they can put this to a vote.

At this point, the best guess is that a vote will take place at a June City Council meeting – either June 1 or 15.  Agendas for these meetings are available on-line several days in advance of each meeting.

Assuming that the Council votes to move forward with constructing a new club, it will take 6-8 months for design, assessments, environmental review, proposals, bid collecting, reviews by committees and commissions, awarding bids, licensing, bonding and on and on and on.  All this must happen before a shovel meets the dirt.

If everything goes smoothly and the agreement is to move forward, it will likely be at least 18 months before a new club is open for business.

WHAT HAPPENS IN THE INTERIM

As you know, our lease is up on June 30.  Because the closing of escrow has been delayed yet again, we have asked the school district for a lease extension.  They have refused.  Evidently, they sent a letter to the City several months ago informing them that there would be no lease extension, information no one ever shared with us.

Several of us plan to attend a school board meeting on April 26 to share our thoughts and request they reconsider a lease extension.  Upcoming meetings, should you be interested in attending, are on May 10 and 24, June 14 and 28, July 26, and August 9 and 23.  Meetings are held at 6 pm in the Board Room at 980 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way.

Kurt and Ana have worked hard to identify alternative locations where members, hotel guests and visitors can reap the rewards of quality game arrangement, excellent service and as much tennis as we want to play.  To date, we’ve not come up with a viable option.  Disappointing news for all of us.

Our apologies for not providing information on a more regular basis.  It’s tough to write when so little movement takes place.


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PLAZA RC NEWS UPDATE as of March 19, 2016

The Saga Continues…

  • Sorry we’ve been quiet but there’s nothing definitive to report.
  • We continue to talk to the City – mostly at our prompting. It’s very difficult to get any clear information from them.  There is lots of “we’ll get back to you in a few days,” and then nothing.
  • We have provided architectural drawings to the City – layout and design of two potential sites for a new club.  One is at Ruth Hardy Park, sited in the NE corner of the park, and enclosed by a fence, thereby ensuring safety and security.  The other is at the west end of Mesquite, behind the Parkview Mobile Home, running north-south and hugging the mountains.  We are doing our best to be helpful – at least what we define as helpful.
  • We continue to research other options, ones that do not involve the City.
  • We have reached out to the Province Group to ask for a new lease allowing the club to operate while the Province Group goes through the planning and permitting process. The City tells us they have also reached out.  There has been no response.
  • The City’s fiscal year is over June 30. It’s pretty clear that if the City is going to step up and build us a new club, the funds need to be built into the Capital Budget for 2016|2017.

MEANWHILE – WE NEED YOUR HELP!

  • The next City Council meeting is April 6. We are asking people to speak on behalf of the club.  We are also asking for a large, visible presence.  PLEASE – if you can – plan to attend this meeting.  It starts at 6 pm and yes – it goes forever – so you need to block out the evening.  We know this is not as exciting as any number of forms of entertainment but this is IMPORTANT.  We need your support.

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PLAZA RC NEWS UPDATE as of February 18, 2016

At their 6 pm March 2 meeting, the Palm Springs City Council will provide a status update on The Plaza Racquet Club.  We are expecting a report on locations they are studying/considering for the club.

Letters to the Desert Sun and/or the City Council are still appreciated.  Possible points to include in your writing:

  • Thank the Council and the Parks and Rec Commission for their efforts on behalf of the club and all its visitors (residents and tourists alike)
  • Encourage their help in allowing the club to remain open while the new property owners are moving through the planning and permitting process.
  • Encourage them to utilize the Haggstroms’ expertise and knowledge as they study location and siting options.

Where we are as of this point in time

  • The Parks and Rec Commission has appointed an ad hoc group to work with the City Councils’ subcommittee (Mayor Moon and Councilman Mills)
  • We are working along parallel tracks: 1) looking at viable alternative locations and 2) working with both the City and the Province Group to encourage a new lease allowing the club to continue operations during the planning and permitting process
  • Ruth Hardy Park continues to be the leading option though we have said we have one chance to do this right so let’s look at other possible ideas.
  • Progress is slow but the wheels are still turning!

STAY STRONG; STAY POSITIVE


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PLAZA RC NEWS UPDATE as of January 27, 2016

January 27 Meeting with the City of Palm Springs

Generally speaking, the meeting went very well.  There were definitely no surprises. 

  • In attendance for the City: Mayor Moon; Councilman Chris Mills; the City Attorney and the Assistant City Manager.
  • In attendance for the PRC: Kurt and Ana; Pamela Steele

HISTORY – AKA What’s done is done

  • Councilman Mills reviewed the history of what happened with the former City Council and their negotiations with the school district. He also spoke to efforts made by a couple of developers to purchase the club and build around it (a perfect solution in our mind).   Unfortunately, according to Mills, the developers ultimately decided their ideas wouldn’t pencil out.  Clearly, at this point, this is water under the bridge.

HISTORIC DESIGNATION

  • The report from Robert Chattel has been delivered to the City but it needs more work. The City continues to work with Chattel for more information, clarification, etc.
  • We spent some time talking about a historic designation and what could happen to the club even if it were declared historic. Bottom line – the school district could still choose to demolish the club once our lease expires and before the close of escrow.
  • If the district didn’t demolish the club, the buyer would have to jump through a lot of hoops to get permission to do so themselves. Difficult but not impossible.

ALTERNATIVE LOCATION – AKA What Now?

  • The City says they have no appropriate surplus property that would work for the club and secure its stability (so we aren’t doing this same dance in another X number of years). They also say they don’t have the funds to start from scratch and purchase property.
  • As we’ve known all along, putting the club at Ruth Hardy Park is what the City proposes. They believe it will create the least impact possible thus limiting negative public comment.  It will never be sold and it reduces the amount of turf thereby saving on water.

NEXT STEPS

  • The idea of locating the club at Ruth Hardy will be placed on the February 17 City Council The Council needs to vote on this and authorize moving forward.  As building a new club would likely take a year, we are talking with the City about the possibility of a new lease that would allow the club to operate in its present location until the new one is ready. At the moment, this is an unknown and clearly would take time as there are new players involved.
  • The Historic Site Preservation Board discussion of the PRC is now going to be March 8.

BOTTOM LINE

  • Mayor Moon and Councilman Mills are committed to finding an acceptable solution for the PRC.
  • Mark your calendar now: 6 pm February 17 (City Council); 9 am March 8 (HSPB)

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PLAZA RC NEWS UPDATE as of January 16, 2016

Historic Status of the Club

  • The report regarding the possibility of the Plaza Racquet Club being designated as a historic site is scheduled to be delivered to the City of Palm Springs the week of January 18. The report, prepared by Robert Chattel of Sherman Oaks, will be given to the Historic Site Preservation Board (HSPB) for their review.
  • It is anticipated that the HSPB will review and discuss the report at their February 9th They meet at 9 am in the large conference room of City Hall, 3200 Tahquitz Canton Way, Palm Springs 92262. 
  • We would appreciate having as many supporters of the Plaza RC attend this meeting as possible.

Meeting with the City

  • Kurt, Ana and Pamela will be meeting with Mayor Moon, Councilman Mills and City Manager David Ready on January 27th. The city folks have been working on an alternative location for the club.  More information about their research and idea(s) will be shared and discussed at this meeting.

Realtor Research

  • We have a realtor working with us to determine if there are any appropriate properties for sale in Central Palm Springs. By “appropriate,” we mean ones that would work for a “new” Plaza Racquet Club. Needless to say, pursuing this route would be very costly.
  • If you happen to know any very wealthy people who would love to become a Palm Springs HERO by helping us recreate the Plaza Racquet Club in a new location, let one of the committee members know ASAP.

Craig Borba | David Carden | Mel Friedman | Kurt Haggstrom | Steffen Nye | Pamela Steele | Brian Wachs


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PLAZA RC NEWS UPDATE as of January 8, 2016

WHAT WE KNOW

  • The property is still in escrow.
  • Assuming the sale moves forward as planned, our lease is up on June 30.
  • It’s important to support our club by paying your membership fees. We now have a six-month membership fee option. No worries – you will not lose your money.

WHAT WE’VE BEEN TOLD

  • Mayor Moon, Councilman Mills and City Manager, David Ready are investigating alternative property options for the club. We have asked to be included in these discussions but have received no response to our inquiry.
  • Upon our request, the City said they would call the buyer to ask about a possible lease extension. To date, we have had no response.

WHAT WE ARE WORKING ON

  • We continue to pursue historical status which, if achieved, would make it difficult (though not impossible) for someone to demolish our club.
  • We have asked a realtor to identify available properties for sale in central Palm Springs that could meet our needs. Once we have this information, we’ll have a better idea if pursuing a land purchase is even feasible.
  • We have a small weekly committee meeting where we are discussing options and next steps.
  • We are doing our best to discover why we are having such difficulty getting the City to respond to us.

WHAT WE UNDERSTAND

  • Many members are anxious for more communication. We will do our best to provide updated information on a weekly basis. Please respect Kurt and Ana’s time.  They are working hard to keep the club running smoothly and keep everyone happy.  While they definitely appreciate your interest, getting questions all day, every day is exhausting.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

  • Watch Mayor Moon’s Facebook page for his monthly coffee klatches. He chooses the date, place and time. Let him know your concerns.
  • Continue to write letters to the City Council and the Desert Sun. For guidelines, visit http://www.plazarc.com, click on Save our Community Tennis Courts.
  • Sign a petition either on-line (same link as above) or in the club office on the counter.
  • Watch our postings either (on the website and in the window of the club) for dates when our club’s future will be discussed at the Historic Site Preservation Board and/or City Council meetings.
  • Plan to attend those meetings. If at all possible, PLEASE plan to speak.

Craig Borba | Kurt Haggstrom | Steffen Nye | Pamela Steele | Brian Wachs


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Celebration of Life – Al Bowlin

albowlinWhere : Desert Princess Resort

Saturday – January 31, 2015

Open Play @ 12:00 – 2:00

Food & Drinks @ 1:00


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Health Reminder

Don’t forget, before & after you play, stretch your various muscle groups to help avoid injuries and accelerate the recovery process.  In addition, don’t forget to hydrate at least two hours prior to your matches.  And even though our season temperatures are moderate, the sun’s rays are still damaging to your skin. Apply sunscreen liberally throughout the day.