Proposed Tennis, Pickleball, and Fitness Center
Town Hall Meeting: October 4, 2018
Mayor Lori Henry
The City will place all master plans on the City website for citizens to easily access. I have requested staff to draft policy so that these master plans are reviewed and updated regularly. I recognize that as time passes, the needs and wishes of a community can change. The City needs to make certain master plans accurately represent the wishes of the community.
I am also requesting a new policy to ensure that whenever key changes are being considered to public property, public engagement must happen. As elected officials, we must go to the community to get the necessary feedback.
Lastly, I would like to invite our Roswell residents and business owners to participate in the upcoming town hall meeting on Thursday, October 4, 2018, 7:00 PM, at the East Roswell Park Community Activity Building. At this meeting, we will discuss at length how the City handled the project, staff will engage citizen interest in establishing a tennis center in another Roswell location, and we will explore the community's vision for East Roswell area parks.
I look forward to partnering with you to ensure we protect what makes Roswell special and make the necessary plans to move us forward as a vibrant community.
Several months ago, Mr. Vernon Krause and the United States Tennis Association approached us with an extraordinary opportunity: an incredibly generous offer to invest upwards of $50 million in a world-class tennis facility for the east side of Roswell that would be owned and operated by The Krause Family Foundation, with no financial or operational burden to the City. Given our shared desire during last year's economic development forums to make east Roswell a destination and boost economic development, we considered the proposed facility a rare and exciting opportunity for our city and the region. Although the community's conversations during those forums focused primarily on how to redevelop and revitalize retail property along Holcomb Bridge Road, this proposed project gave us the opportunity to consider city-owned land to spur revitalization along the corridor.
This is where we should have pulled the public into the process. This is where we should have explained the reasons we were considering Big Creek Park for this project. The Big Creek Park original master plan included several facilities, fields and tennis courts in the area where the tennis center was proposed to be located. We thought it would be a good fit, but we should have asked our residents and taxpayers if this was something they wanted in Big Creek Park. It would have been an opportunity to present the information, receive your input and answer questions. We were so excited about the project that we assumed our residents would share that enthusiasm.
The Memorandum of Understanding with the Krause Foundation that was to be considered during the August 13 Mayor and Council meeting was a draft to be discussed and amended, marking the starting point for public input and all the necessary studies for a project. We should have explained this better to our residents and we failed to do so. We apologize for that as well.
Today marks a new opportunity for the community to work together. The Krause Family still believes our city is an excellent location for the Angela Krause Tennis, Pickle Ball and Fitness Center. Big Creek Park will not be considered. We will schedule public input meetings and we will work together with the community. We thank you and welcome your continued engagement.
When Mr. Krause approached the Mayor's office with the generous offer of investing upwards of $50 million in a world-class tennis facility for the east side of Roswell, we were very excited about the project. We believed it would have been an economic catalyst for the east side, drawing other investment into that area and being a driver for redevelopment along the Holcomb Bridge Road corridor east of GA-400. We thought the tennis center would have given the east side of Roswell a destination that would draw people from all over the region. We heard a clear message last year from east side residents during the Economic Development Forums that creating a destination place for the east side was a priority and key desire.
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.
I want to thank Mr. Krause and the Krause Foundation for wanting to invest millions of dollars into our community to honor his daughter. I hope our community will be able to assist him in the future with his dream to build a facility in memory of Angela.
Largest Clay Court Tennis Center in the United States
If approved, the $60-70 million project would break ground in 2019, would happen in three phases, and 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.
The tennis center project is being developed by Roswell residents Vernon and Marie Krause, 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 an avid tennis player and member of UGA's club tennis team.
"Creating this center to celebrate Angela's life has been a deeply bittersweet, yet incredibly rewarding, labor of love for our entire family," said Vernon Krause. "Angela's warm smile, sense of humor, and love of life made her beloved by family and friends, and our hope is that everyone who enters the doors of this place will experience the type of warm welcome and inviting environment that will truly honor her memory."
As the Krause family looked at potential locations for the tennis center, Roswell made sense for several reasons, in addition to the family's personal connection to the city.
"We are grateful the Krause family chose Roswell and are honored to partner with them—this is a wonderful example of the great things that can happen through a public-private partnership," said City of Roswell Mayor Lori Henry.
Why Roswell, Georgia
Additionally, ALTA is the largest metro tennis league in the world with 80,000 members, and T-2 Tennis reports an estimated 60,000 tennis players in the metro region.
Furthermore, Roswell's convenient transportation access, new business hotels, restaurants, breweries, and shopping make it a strategic location for a facility this size. These factors will assist in winning international, national, sectional, and regional tournament bids.
"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 & 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."
"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.
First, Roswell residents would be able to use the facility and courts for a special resident fee. Second, upon the center's completion, while tournaments are hosted at the center, there would be a select number of courts reserved and set aside for residents to use, so their ability to use the facility is not interrupted.
"Not only are we thrilled about the benefits this will bring to our residents, we are excited about the sense of community pride this project will give to all of us in Roswell," said Mayor Henry. 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.
"Our vision is for this center to become the premier destination for tennis and pickleball, both here in the Metro Atlanta area and throughout the United States," said Carlson. "This place will truly be unlike any other facility in the country, and I am excited to see the project come to life."
The Krause Family and Danny Carlson worked with the City of Roswell, Roswell Inc, the Roswell Recreation Commission, and the U.S. Tennis Association to make this project happen.
Quick Facts & Highlights
- This will be the largest clay court tennis center in the United States.
- When finished, there will be more than 80 clay courts at the facility – more than double the largest amount currently available in one location in the United States.
- The center will have 135 courts total upon completion, including hard courts and grass courts.
- It will be located on 60 acres in Big Creek Park off Old Alabama Road.
- The project is set to break ground in 2019.
- The project is estimated as a $60-70 million investment.
- The center will include traditional hard and grass courts.
- The center will feature a tournament size, 24-court pickleball facility.
- The center will host tennis and pickleball academies and tournaments, in addition to open recreational play for community members.
- In addition to tennis and pickleball courts, the facility will house a pro shop, fitness center, concession area, conference room, and restrooms with showers/lockers.
- There are only three locations in Metro Atlanta that currently offer public clay courts:
- 13 courts in Bitsy Grant
- 4 courts in Sandy Springs
- 4 courts in South Fulton
- Outside Metro Atlanta, the entire state has only two other public clay court facilities:
- 39 courts in Columbus
- 13 courts in Jekyll island
- The land in Big Creek Park is being used by the Krause family through a public-private partnership with City of Roswell.
- The center will be developed, owned, and operated by The Krause Family Foundation, with no financial or operational burden to the City.
- The Krause Family Foundation will 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.
- The Krause family is developing the project in honor of their daughter Angela Krause, who passed away at age 29 after battling ALK—a rare form of non-smokers lung cancer.
- Angela was an avid tennis player and member of UGA's club tennis team.
Why Clay Courts?
- Clay has proven to be a safer surface and extend players' daily and lifetime playing time.
- Temperatures of clay courts can be 10-15 degrees cooler than traditional courts, which is especially important in hot summer months.
- There is high demand for additional clay court facilities from the USTA, GTA, colleges, and other tennis associations.
- Clay courts are the preferred surface for a majority of tennis players.