ROSWELL, Ga. -- City officials have decided not to move forward with plans to build what would have been the nation's largest clay tennis court facility at a local park.
On Sunday, Mayor Lori Henry said the city has removed the item from Monday's agenda, when it would have come before a vote.
"After speaking with Vernon Krause of the Krause Foundation this afternoon, we have jointly decided not to move forward with the memorandum of understanding between the city and the Krause Foundation to locate the Angela Krause Tennis, Pickleball and Fitness Center in Big Creek Park," Henry said.
If approved, the three-phase, $60-70 million project would have broken ground in 2019. Its 80+ clay courts would be more than double the number of clay courts anywhere else in one location. It would also feature traditional hard courts and grass courts, as well as a 24-court pickleball facility.
The project was proposed by Roswell residents Vernon and Marie Krause in honor of their daughter, Angela, who died at age 29 after battling a rare form of cancer. Angela was an avid tennis player and member of UGA's club tennis team.
But community members say it took almost two decades to develop Big Creek Park into what it is today, full of trails and biking areas, and a petition opposing the plan gained 7,000 signatures.
Here is the rest of Henry's statement:
"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."