Roswell was looking to get into the tennis business.
The lucrative segment of the sports industry brings over $50 million in economic impact to Southern Mississippi and the new Rome (Ga.) Tennis Center estimated before build would bring in over $13 million to Rome and the surrounding area.
Tennis officials say this Roswell location would be, the largest clay court tennis center in the nation—the Angela Krause Tennis, Pickleball and Fitness Center. The center, which would be a part of Big Creek Park, has caused quite a stir with the tennis community and city officials showing both support and opposition.
So this recent post on the page of Angela Krause Lincoln:
After discussions with a council person and others involved with our prospective project, Angela Krause (tennis center), we are in agreement that this project should not move forward at this time. We are hopeful that the mayor and council will schedule town hall meetings so that everyone can have a say, and a decision can be had as to what is the best use of their land know as Big Creek Park.
We were told that the land was purchased to be an active park, as opposed to its current use as a passive park. With that information in mind, we felt as though a world class tennis, pickleball and fitness center would be a nice amenity for the citizens of Roswell.
If this facility is not wanted by the majority of its citizens, we will look for another venture which will be a memorial for our daughter, Angela. For all off you that have expressed support, we thank you and hope that a positive resolution can be found in the near future.
The proposal was for 135 courts to be located on 60 acres of land in in the park, off Old Alabama Road, through a partnership with the City of Roswell, but it has been halted as of now due to opposition opinion. Those residing in close proximity of Big Creek Park showed early resistance to this project. As of noon on Sunday, more than 24,000 signatures had been collected in opposition to the tennis facility.
Current plans said the $60-70 million project would break ground in 2019 and would happen in three phases. It would include more than 80 clay courts when finished, which is more than double the number of clay courts currently available in one location anywhere in the country.
The facility would also feature traditional hard courts and grass courts, as well as a tournament-size, 24-court pickleball facility. Pickleball is currently the fastest growing sport in the U.S.
However, the community has let us know over the past several days that they do not support this project for Big Creek Park. We want you to know we hear you again, so we will not be moving forward with it. In the coming months, we will hold a town hall meeting for further input from residents on the possibility and location of a tennis center in Roswell.
This tennis center is an idea Roswell residents Vernon and Marie Krause formed in honor of their daughter, Angela Krause, who passed away at age 29 after battling ALK—a rare form of non-smokers lung cancer. She was diagnosed three days after giving birth to her son and passed away less than four months later, in February 2015. Angela was a longtime tennis player and member of UGA’s club tennis team.
The United States Tennis Association (USTA), the national governing body of tennis is on board with this center, located in Metro Atlanta, which is a hotbed of tennis. Local tennis organizations have over 100,000 members and a recent study states that over 340,000 Metro Atlantans play tennis.
The city of Roswell is at the absolute heart of one of the largest concentrations of active tennis players in the entire country, making it the perfect location for this project,” said Gordon Smith, Executive Director and CEO of the United States Tennis Association. “This facility will not only serve the local tennis players and community members, but also will quickly become one of the most sought-after clay court venues in the U.S. for both national and international tennis tournaments and events.
The USTA’s Southern Section, which is the association’s largest region, counts more than 50,000 members in Metro Atlanta alone. One Atlanta tennis promoter says this would bring a number of large adult and junior tennis tournaments to town in the first three to four years.
It’s not unrealistic to expect an economic impact of $30 to $50 million to Roswell annually through tournament play. This includes not only out of town tennis players, but also players traveling from other areas of the metro area. Many cities are now able to fund projects that would never have been attainable thanks to baseball, softball, volleyball and cycling facilities that were built for the community to use and to attract visitors.
This is one of those projects that we will look back on in 10 years and be absolutely blown away by the positive impact it’s had on the community—both through its economic impact and through the way it will transform our city into a national and international destination,” said Steve Stroud, executive director of Roswell Inc, the city’s nonprofit economic development organization.
The center would be developed, owned, and operated by The Krause Family Foundation, with no financial or operational burden to the City. The Foundation would work with Danny Carlson, owner of Atlanta Tennis Inc. and founder of the Serve and Return Foundation, to manage the facility’s operations and programming.
From my TennisRecruiting.Net piece:
Mobile, Alabama’s Copeland-Cox Tennis Center has set the standard for a large tennis center hosting events in the Southeast, and forward looking city planners and business leaders have taken notice. According to a 2012 survey, the 60-court mega tennis center, located in west Mobile, brings with it a $54 million economic impact to the area. The survey tracked the 17 biggest events held at the facility that featured primarily out-of-town tennis players.
More information forthcoming on a tennis center coming to Roswell, so stay tuned as this center may still happen somewhere else in Roswell or on a smaller scale.
Rick Limpert is an Atlanta-based writer that covers the intersection of sports and technology. You can follow him on Twitter at @RickRoswell. He has sports gadgets and tech segments on Radio 105.7 with Sully, on TV at NBC 11 Alive, and on CBS WMAZ in Macon.