Wellington officials joined members of the project’s design and build team to break ground Tuesday on the new Wellington Tennis Center.
Vice Mayor John Greene stood in for Mayor Bob Margolis, who was unable to attend.
“To be able to provide a dedicated tennis center to our residents, I think, makes us the envy of any municipality,” Greene said. “I am happy to stand here before you and thank you all for being here and thank the residents for supporting us and for making sure that we can continue to provide the types of assets and venues that continue to just make this one of the best places in Palm Beach County.”
Greene also thanked village staff members, Pirtle Construction and architectural firm Song + Associates for their hard work and dedication. “It has taken us a long time to get here,” he said. “We’re very happy that this is a day we can all celebrate together.”
Council members Matt Willhite, Howard Coates and Anne Gerwig were also in attendance.
Willhite said the new facility, located on Lyons Road in eastern Wellington, should be open for tennis play sometime next spring.
The decision to move the tennis center, currently located at the Wellington Community Center, was a controversial vote that divided the council and the Wellington tennis community.
Coates, who did not support the move, said the new facility would nevertheless be a benefit to the community.
“This site represents the collective desire of the council, that whatever we do, we build a world-class facility that continues to keep Wellington on the map as one of the best communities to live, not only in Palm Beach County, or the State of Florida, but I happen to believe in the entire country,” Coates said. “I believe at the end of the day, when this site is completed and the tennis facilities are erected, people are going to drive by this and it’s going to be another jewel that we can point to.”
Gary Pirtle, of Pirtle Construction, provided insight into the project. “We’re providing something for the community to enjoy. You’re going to be getting a state-of-the-art tennis facility,” he said, explaining that Frank Froehling, a professional tennis player, has worked on the design of the courts.
Jeff Miles, director of operations for Pirtle Construction, will be managing the project, Pirtle said.
Young Song of Song + Associates stressed how much hard work and thought goes into a project like this, congratulating everyone on the groundbreaking.
Greene then invited all the officials to take part in the ceremony.
“The next time we’ll have an opportunity to gather and celebrate will hopefully be the ribbon-cutting when we open up the facility,” he said. “There’s so much that goes into making this happen, not just today but every day. It’s a long process to get here, but it does take vision and it does take courage. At the end of the day, we will have something that will be great for the Village of Wellington.”
ABOVE: Tom Wenham, Bruce Delaney, Anthony Forgione, Young Song, Councilwoman Anne Gerwig, Vice Mayor John Greene, Councilman Matt Willhite, Councilman Howard Coates, Gary Pirtle, Jeff Miles and Jim Barnes take part in the groundbreaking ceremony.