Memorial Field tennis center remains shuttered 1 year later

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MOUNT VERNON -

All that remains of the once-popular Kela Tennis Center at Memorial Field is a deflated bubble and damage following problems between the mayor of Mount Vernon and the owner.

Tennis pro and teacher Kela Simuloya had his life turned upside down last year. He owned the tennis center at Memorial Field and took pride in giving free lessons to city kids.

Last year, Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas wanted Simuloya out, citing tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid rent. When Simuloya wouldn't leave, a crew was sent in during the night to deflate the million-dollar bubble.

The decision to deflate the bubble led to court intervention that ended up halting all work at Memorial Field. Eventually, the county seized control of the facility and stripped the mayor of his power. Simuloya then sued the city for $27 million.

MORE: Mt. Vernon offers remediation plan for dilapidated Memorial Field
MORE: Board of Legislators votes to take control of Memorial Field
MORE: Fight over Memorial Field goes to court

Now one year later, the park is still a mess and the bubble is deflated. Simuloya has had to uproot his business to Mamaroneck, where he says he's struggling.

Simuloya says he doesn't know if he will ever return to Memorial Field, but adds that he will never stop fighting on behalf of all the kids who lost out on tennis when the bubble came down.

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