The recent decision by the Wellington Village Council to move the tennis center was a very hard one, it was almost a lose-lose, but I applaud Mayor Bob Margolis and councilmen John Greene and Matt Willhite on having the courage to make this decision. Keeping the tennis center at its current location was not an option, especially if the council was going to move forward on the new community center.
All of the other sites that were considered had current recreation facilities in place, and would have required an extra six to nine months to move them and add hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cost of the project. K-Park is now in play for a major player to enhance our equestrian industry and is not in play for a tennis site. For the first time in 20 years, I have to agree with my friend George Unger — the western equestrian concept would be a huge positive for the community and economy, and needs to be explored.
Council members Howard Coates and Anne Gerwig are wrong on two counts: Leaving the center where it is currently does nothing but prolong the debate and delays Wellington moving forward on plans for a new community center and making the tennis program viable. In addition, Gerwig’s comment about the cost and so few participants is highly inaccurate. The village has spent millions on the gym building and renovations, and the current recreation program and residents in the travel basketball program feature far fewer residents than the tennis program does currently. Gerwig’s lack of knowledge about recreation may be her undoing in the upcoming elections.
Unfortunately, the Village Walk site will probably spell doom for the tennis program as many of the current members will choose not to make the additional 15 to 20 minutes of a drive, especially during school hours when the traffic is bumper-to-bumper with two schools within a mile of the proposed tennis center. I do agree with Coates and Gerwig that the cost is very high for this new center, so consider this: If the demand for the tennis center is so large, sell the property (Village Walk) to a qualified business or individual, with a contractual agreement to build a private 24-court club and clubhouse facility with their money, offer programs and leagues to the residents, in a return for a 99-year lease at a very modest sum.
We will see how quickly there is a need for tennis in Wellington, and the residents will be off the hook for the $5 million in costs.
Steve Haughn, Wellington