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Largest Clay Court Tennis Center in the United States

The largest clay court tennis center in the nation—the Angela Krause Tennis, Pickleball and Fitness Center—may soon be making its home in Roswell, Georgia. The new, 135-court facility would be located on 60 acres of land in Big Creek Park, located off Old Alabama Road, through a partnership with the City of Roswell, which will be voted upon during the city council meeting on Monday, August 13, 2018. 

If approved, the $60-70 million project would break ground in 2019, would happen in three phases, and would include more than 80 clay courts when finished, which is more than double the number of clay courts currently available in one location anywhere in the country. The facility would also feature traditional hard courts and grass courts, as well as a tournament-size, 24-court pickleball facility. 

The tennis center project is being developed by Roswell residents Vernon and Marie Krause, in honor of their daughter, Angela Krause, who passed away at age 29 after battling ALK—a rare form of non-smokers lung cancer. She was diagnosed three days after giving birth to her son and passed away less than four months later, in February 2015. Angela was an avid tennis player and member of UGA's club tennis team. 


"Creating this center to celebrate Angela's life has been a deeply bittersweet, yet incredibly rewarding, labor of love for our entire family," said Vernon Krause. "Angela's warm smile, sense of humor, and love of life made her beloved by family and friends, and our hope is that everyone who enters the doors of this place will experience the type of warm welcome and inviting environment that will truly honor her memory." 

As the Krause family looked at potential locations for the tennis center, Roswell made sense for several reasons, in addition to the family's personal connection to the city. 

"We are grateful the Krause family chose Roswell and are honored to partner with them—this is a wonderful example of the great things that can happen through a public-private partnership," said City of Roswell Mayor Lori Henry. 

Why Roswell, Georgia?

With more than 15,000 active tennis players within Roswell's city limits, and more than 75,000 active tennis players with a 10-mile radius of Roswell, this area has one of the largest concentrations of tennis players in the United States. Roswell is also centrally located within the U.S. Tennis Association's Southern Section, which is the association's largest region, boasting more than 50,000 members in Metro Atlanta alone. 

Additionally, ALTA is the largest metro tennis league in the world with 80,000 members, and T-2 Tennis reports an estimated 60,000 tennis players in the metro region. 

Furthermore, Roswell's convenient transportation access, new business hotels, restaurants, breweries, and shopping make it a strategic location for a facility this size. These factors will assist in winning international, national, sectional, and regional tournament bids. 

"The city of Roswell is at the absolute heart of one of the largest concentrations of active tennis players in the entire country, making it the perfect location for this project," said Gordon Smith, Executive Director & CEO of the United States Tennis Association. "This facility will not only serve the local tennis players and community members, but also will quickly become one of the most sought-after clay court venues in the U.S. for both national and international tennis tournaments and events."

Economic Impact

Based on comparable tennis facility data and economic impact studies, the center is estimated to bring an economic impact of $30 to $50 million to Roswell annually through tournament play, while also serving as a catalyst for additional investment in the area. 

"This is one of those projects that we will look back on in 10 years and be absolutely blown away by the positive impact it's had on the community—both through its economic impact and through the way it will transform our city into a national and international destination," said Steve Stroud, executive director of Roswell Inc, the city's nonprofit economic development organization.

Community Benefit

Not only would this center strengthen Roswell's community culture and create an international destination within city limits, residents would receive two significant benefits to having this center in the community, through a public-private partnership and agreement with the City of Roswell. 

First, Roswell residents would be able to use the facility and courts for a special resident fee. Second, upon the center's completion, while tournaments are hosted at the center, there would be a select number of courts reserved and set aside for residents to use, so their ability to use the facility is not interrupted. 

"Not only are we thrilled about the benefits this will bring to our residents, we are excited about the sense of community pride this project will give to all of us in Roswell," said Mayor Henry. The center would be developed, owned, and operated by The Krause Family Foundation, with no financial or operational burden to the City. The Foundation would work with Danny Carlson, owner of Atlanta Tennis Inc. and founder of the Serve and Return Foundation, to manage the facility's operations and programming. 

"Our vision is for this center to become the premier destination for tennis and pickleball, both here in the Metro Atlanta area and throughout the United States," said Carlson. "This place will truly be unlike any other facility in the country, and I am excited to see the project come to life." 

The Krause Family and Danny Carlson worked with the City of Roswell, Roswell Inc, the Roswell Recreation Commission, and the U.S. Tennis Association to make this project happen.

Quick Facts & Highlights

  • This will be the largest clay court tennis center in the United States.
  • When finished, there will be more than 80 clay courts at the facility – more than double the largest amount currently available in one location in the United States.
  • The center will have 135 courts total upon completion, including hard courts and grass courts.
  • It will be located on 60 acres in Big Creek Park off Old Alabama Road.
  • The project is set to break ground in 2019.
  • The project is estimated as a $60-70 million investment.
  • The center will include traditional hard and grass courts.
  • The center will feature a tournament size, 24-court pickleball facility.
  • The center will host tennis and pickleball academies and tournaments, in addition to open recreational play for community members.
  • In addition to tennis and pickleball courts, the facility will house a pro shop, fitness center, concession area, conference room, and restrooms with showers/lockers.
  • There are only three locations in Metro Atlanta that currently offer public clay courts:
    • 13 courts in Bitsy Grant
    • 4 courts in Sandy Springs
    • 4 courts in South Fulton
  • Outside Metro Atlanta, the entire state has only two other public clay court facilities:
    • 39 courts in Columbus
    • 13 courts in Jekyll island
  • The land in Big Creek Park is being used by the Krause family through a public-private partnership with City of Roswell.
  • The center will be developed, owned, and operated by The Krause Family Foundation, with no financial or operational burden to the City.
  • The Krause Family Foundation will work with Danny Carlson, owner of Atlanta Tennis Inc. and founder of the Serve and Return Foundation, to manage the facility's operations and programming.
  • The Krause family is developing the project in honor of their daughter Angela Krause, who passed away at age 29 after battling ALK—a rare form of non-smokers lung cancer.
  • Angela was an avid tennis player and member of UGA's club tennis team.

Why Clay Courts?

  • Clay has proven to be a safer surface and extend players' daily and lifetime playing time.
  • Temperatures of clay courts can be 10-15 degrees cooler than traditional courts, which is especially important in hot summer months.
  • There is high demand for additional clay court facilities from the USTA, GTA, colleges, and other tennis associations.
  • Clay courts are the preferred surface for a majority of tennis players.

[All info provided from https://www.roswellgov.com/government/special-projects/proposed-tennis-center]

SEE ALSO: Initial AJC Report, Friday, August 10, 2018: 
Roswell tennis complex planned as international destination