Alameda Harbor Bay Club Is Nice But Dated

Harbor Bay Club Upgrade Is a Hot Issue



I belong to a health club in Oakland, but I don’t use it as much as I should or take advantage of its many offerings. I don’t even know my way around it really, although I do know my way around a gym and want the equipment to be in good working order and easy to use. As an outdoor runner, I tend to use my health club more as a dressing room than an actual gym, but I keep telling myself that water aerobics, yoga, and spinning are next. And soon.

I do not think my health club has tennis courts, which Alameda’s Harbor Bay Club has in spades. They are fantastic for someone like me who has played her entire 3.0 tennis career on crappy neighborhood courts. I was invited to play there years ago and couldn’t believe how swanky it was. It felt like a resort, where cool ocean breezes arrived courtside as the sunlight waned and the lights came up. The temperatures were so pleasant, I never even had to take off my warm-up jacket. I had a lovely experience. I spent no time inside the club; I just passed through after checking in, though I do recall favorable impressions and thinking it was the type of club I would like. The women I played sets with were my age and older, and they were serious doubles players. A baseliner singles player with absolutely no talent at the net and speed as my only asset, I lasted a few practices but wasn’t good enough to be invited on the team. There ended my club experiences, except for occasional glimpses of swimmers doing laps as I jogged by on the Bay Trail.

Sadly, tennis is so passé nowadays. Which is one of the reasons that Kirk Cowan, the owner of the Harbor Bay Club, wants to reinvent his club, an aging one that needs some TLC. The club needs space for en vogue pursuits like Pilates and spa treatments and Zumba. Even many club members wish it was of this decade. Therefore, Cowan proposes to build a bigger, better health club two miles away in Harbor Bay Business Park. Hard to argue with that.

Except that people are. The club’s proposal is one of the hottest issues going in Alameda right now, and it probably won’t be settled very soon. Is it an honest effort to spend $16 million to $18 million upgrading the facilities or, as some allege, a greedy land grab by Bay Farm’s first family? Almost everyone has an opinion, it seems, and those opinions tell us something about the current state of development in Alameda.

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