Letter: Time To Re-Think Community Center Plans

As we are all aware, the subject of keeping the Wellington Tennis Center in its current location and the construction of a new Wellington Community Center building is center stage with our Wellington Village Council. The moving of the tennis facility and a new community center have actually been subjects of public and council discussions for about three years. The costs to accomplish and reasons why for the tennis facility move and new building have been moving targets with this council and past councils, as have been reasons for why this is taking so long.

Since these discussions started, our village demographics have changed, the economy has changed and additional property has recently been purchased by the village that should be factored into any decisions. With these changes comes the opportunity to seriously address keeping the tennis facility at the community center, as well as where the new community center building should be located and how much of our tax dollars could be saved by not moving the tennis facility and wisely using the new land and building that was purchased in December.

As a result of all the discussions and delays, residents have come forward, at a ratio of at least nine out of 10, to keep the tennis facility where it is. Although many of us have stood up and publicly gave opinions to council that the tennis facility should stay, two residents put in an unbelievable amount of effort and time to give what were very viable alternatives that could accomplish what the public wants at a savings of as much as $8 million.

At the last council meeting, there was to be a vote to go to contract. That vote did not take place due to the unexpected illness of Councilman John Greene. Roy and Judy Rosner, long-time village residents and tennis players, were on the agenda to provide the council several alternatives. The most viable alternative allowed for the tennis facility to remain in place but to add additional courts, including one to rival the center court in the Delray tennis complex. This would bring the number of courts to the same number as was to be built at the new location. In addition, the purchase of the former Lake Wellington Professional Centre building and parking lot allowed for more tennis parking than the new facility would have had, and left the professional center building intact and income producing to the tune of almost $500,000 a year. It also allowed for an 18,000-square-foot community center building in a much better location, taking full advantage of the lakefront. By taking advantage of the Rosners’ concept, the Village could save up to $8 million and have the parcel where they were going to move the tennis facility left to serve other purposes, one being the possible sale at a price that could fund well over 50 percent of the Rosner plan. If anyone wants a copy of the Rosner concept, please e-mail me at esi2890@aol.com.

I urge as many residents as possible to attend this Tuesday’s council meeting and express your opinions, hopefully to keep the tennis facility where it is and redesign and re-bid the community center building and tennis facility upgrades. This is your community center and your tennis facility. The council needs to hear from you.

Mike Nelson, Wellington

Editor’s note: Mr. Nelson is the chairman of the Business and Economic Development Committee of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce.


  1. I’ll begin by saying that I am in favor of the new tennis center. I would like to point out some glaring inaccuracies in Mr. Nelson’s letter, which have also been stated by Mr. Rosner. First, he claims that nine out of ten residents have come forward to oppose the move. Mr. Rosner claims the ratio is 25:1. This claim is completely baseless. If he has data to support this claim, he hasn’t provided it to the public or the Council. Second, the claim of an $8M savings is partially based on an estimate of the value of the lot on Lyons Rd. of $4M. The claim is faulty for two reasons. One, the per-acre value was computed by comparing the land to a nearby parcel, Kobosko”s Crossing, which is a fully developed, revenue producing shopping center, not a vacant lot. Second, the Village hasn’t put the lot up for sale, hasn’t proposed selling the lot, therefore doesn’t have a buyer willing to pay $4M for it. Thus, the “estimate” is pure speculation.

    As far as the annual $500K revenue from the Lake Wellington Professional Centre, Mr. Rosner’s plan calls for razing the buildings, thus costing the Village that money.

    Mr. Nelson also claims that one of the courts would rival the center court at the Delray Tennis Center. It’s obvious Mr. Nelson has never been to the Delray Tennis Center. Mr. Rosner’s plan doesn’t include anything of the sort. And putting something of that scale at the current center would be ridiculous. He can’t even fit additional USTPA regulation courts at the current center, much less an 8,200 seat stadium (which would take up as much land as 6-9 regulation courts) and the parking required to support it. Plus, it would be very expensive to do, and Mr. Nelson and Mr. Rosner claim their objections to the new center primarily have to do with money.

    This debate should be about the facts, not conjecture and erroneous data.

  2. Hmmm, I think there are quite a few points that are not mentioned in this editorial severely skewing the argument to keep the courts at their present location. I, for one, would love to keep the courts where they are. I would love to go away on a week long vacation and come back to the same Forest Hill/Southshore spot to find 21 brand new courts, nets, fences, watering system, clubhouse with pro shop and locker rooms, observation area, new community center, ample parking and lots of beautiful landscaping. But, assuming the Rosner’s plan is possible in terms of land space and is accurate in terms of costs, it would be well over a year of constant construction to a few courts at a time, losing parking spots temporarily the entire time. One HUGE advantage, at least to me, of building new facilities in a different location is that tennis continues as normal until the new facility is done and then the new community center may be built before knocking down the existing building. I am not an engineer nor a contractor, so I’m not sure, but I have also heard speculation that a modern court watering system cannot be placed over what currently exists. I also think a center court rivaling the one in Delray Beach would be fabulous, but it doesn’t seem to be something that would fall within the budget nor do we have the room for a venue of that size if we want any parking spaces at all. I think it would be beneficial to get people together to create pro/con lists of accurate information for both keeping the tennis center where it is and moving it. Perhaps in this way the Wellington council could base their decisions on concrete data and the local media could then focus on the excitement of a new tennis facility for the families of Wellington and surrounding communities.

  3. The lakefront in this area is completely hidden from the public. Whatever happens at the site, the lakeside must be opened up for the residents. Do not let that gorgeous lakefront be hidden by buildings or possibly more tennis courts or a parking lot full of vehicles. Find an architect who will open the lakefront up, not block the view.

    Green up the area along the lakefront, so the area could be used by the people. Let them be able to place a blanket, picnic and watch the sunset.

    Please find a solution to opening up the lakefront for residents to USE and ENJOY and not hiding it behind a building, courts or parking lot!

  4. I just visited the Delray Tennis Center, Mr. Nelson I think you should rethink that statement, that is just wrong.

    Additionally, who are the 9 out of 10 people you are speaking for? We are collecting data in a survey regarding the move, we will share that data with the Village Council. If you want a link to the survey please email me at carynjac@aol.com, only one survey per person.

    Please don’t speak on behalf of people whom you do not have the authority to speak for.

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