Rally held to support tennis facility at embattled Memorial Field

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MOUNT VERNON -

A rally was held Saturday by Memorial Field, Mount Vernon's embattled property that the city has been trying for years to renovate.

The rally was held in support of the tennis facility next to the iconic stadium. The owner of Kela Tennis Center was joined by some dozen supporters, who came out to vocalize support for the tennis center that Mayor Richard Thomas shut down earlier this month.

As News 12 has reported, video showed police at the scene on June 1 after Mayor Thomas sent crews in the middle of the night to shut power to the tennis facility and deflate its bubble. Thomas says he had to do it because he says the tennis center owed the city a half-million dollars in back rent and had never complied with Department of Environmental Conservation orders to remove nearby debris.

But the tennis center owners tell News 12 they never received a notice from the DEC to get rid of the debris, and say they were told by the city not to pay rent because the city hadn't complied with a contract to help improve the center so it could be part of the new Memorial Field.

The stadium remains under construction as ongoing political battles over its renovations continue, pitting the mayor against the Mount Vernon City Council, Westchester County, and the tennis center, over what needs to be done for the future of the field.

"We've been pushed in the corner here of the mayor trying to do all these things that he's done, even in the night, to sabotage the building," says Kela Simunyola, of the tennis center. "And we've trying to work for the city for a long time, from the beginning."

The tennis centers owner's say they're taking the fight to the next step and sued the city of Mount Vernon this past week for breach of contract.

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