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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.