ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — Atlanta City Council voted 14-1 yesterday in favor of discarding a recommendation for Agape Tennis Academy to manage the city’s five tennis courts.

The contract for Universal Tennis Academy (UTA), also known as Universal Tennis Management, ended in August, after they ran the facilities for the last 10 years. The five tennis centers are at Bitsy Grant, Piedmont, Washington and Chastain Parks and the McGhee facility.

James Reilly with the Bitsy Round Robin Senior Tennis Group says council members made the right choice. “We didn’t know how bad Agape was originally, but looking into their historians their performance at the tennis centers they’re active at, we knew it would be an absolute disaster,” he said, adding his opinion that UTA was unable to compete with Agape’s bids. “We found that the bids that [Agape] submitted apparently were unrealistic.”

The city took virtual public comments for more than four hours before voting, with an overwhelming number of people voicing their support for UTA. On the other hand, many residents agreed with the recommendation for the city to contract with Agape.

A UTA partner confirmed they are still hoping the city will consider their bid and bring them back on as the property managers.

Agape Owner and CEO Amy Pazahanick released this statement to CW69:

Agape Tennis Academy has now fairly won the City of Atlanta’s procurement process to manage the five City Tennis Centers now, two times. This is setting a horrible precedent for the City of Atlanta and those that wish to do business with the City. The City is showing no regard for their own procurement process. Agape Tennis Academy was awarded the contract based on our merit and overall vision for the City of Atlanta, twice. It is incredibly disheartening, unjust, and wrong for the City to ignore recommendations from procurement.

There is a black out period and an anti-lobbying provision. Universal Tennis Academy violated the anti-lobbying provision as started by the City’s legal council in the August 25th, Human Services and Community Development meeting. Agape has respected the process and followed the rules by not lobbying and asking all of our supporters to influence the process. Politics should not play a role in this process, but it most certainly has.

Agape is an organization that prides ourselves on our core values, for ourselves, our employees, and mostly all of the thousands of youth we develop. We have endured this process over the past two years because we believe our mission and vision can positively shape and influence the lives of so many youth, adults, and people in this City. We ask that the City of Atlanta, bring the legislation back and vote on this again in the next City Council meeting. What has happened to our organization is unjust, unfair, and establishes a horrible precedent for doing business with the City of Atlanta.

Others are hoping to see UTA pick up where it left off. “We were ecstatic that Agape didn’t get the contract and that we now have a chance to get back in,” said Reilley.

The city has managed the courts since UTA’s contract ended and is expected to continue managing them until officials decide what to do next.