Home Uncategorized CVB Unanimously Rejects ECTA Funding Request for Tennis Courts

CVB Unanimously Rejects ECTA Funding Request for Tennis Courts


Wessleman Park Tennis Court Project Rejected

Today the Board of Directors of the Evansville Convention and Visitors Board rejected the request made by the Evansville Community Tennis Association for $1.1 Million to subsidize building 12 tennis courts in Wesselman Park. The vote was 4 – 0 to reject the request with 2 members (Schafer and McCarty) abstaining for conflicts of interest. Vectren’s Mike Roeder who is a member of the board was not in attendance.

This vote is seen as a victory for advocates for Wesselman Park and for those who have expressed the belief that public money should not be used to compete with private enterprises such as the Tri-State Athletic Club.


  1. “Congratulations,” to all who have advocated for the protection of Wesselman Park Nature Center.

    “Thank You,” to those ECVB members who have heard the voice of the people.

  2. I have to wonder. At what point does Mr. Roeder, and his absence, become the topic of a story rather than an increasingly predictable last sentence discussing CVB events?

  3. The Wesselman Park Nature Center was never in danger. ECTA has the blessing of the Nature Center as well as the Parks Board. The right to build courts on the property has already been granted, the request was for funding only. All this means is ECTA will be looking for other methods of funding the project. People in this community tend to be so uninformed and maybe thats why everything we do is done in such a shoddy manner. Look at the downtown hotel debaucle.

    • You’re right…

      We have a vast population of progressive, yes men, but I wouldn’t call them “informed”.

      You can get funding from the parks board to build indoor tennis facilities, if you can.
      We’ll remember that Weinzapfel shut down the park rangers.
      We’ll remember the hypodermic needle incident.
      We’ll remember the nun-chucks and condoms story.
      We’ll remember the Davis proposal to have kids work the parks for min. wage.
      We’ll remember the Republicans that called it wastefull.

      If you ECTA members want to complain about shoddy. Why don’t you make it a policy that every person that spends 15 minutes playing free tennis on the taxpayers dime… Owes the park system an hour of mowing? (After all, isn’t your largesse to some degree, at others expense?)

      • And every time you take a stroll in the park you owe for mowing. No difference. Not one public dime has been put into the tennis facility since ECTA leased it from the city in 2003. They have spent nearly $800,000.00 in upgrades from private funding since that time. That is more then I can say for the parks as a whole, the stadium, Burdette, Swonder, and the list goes on. Those facilities are subsidized with your tax dollar. All the city does for the tennis facility is the mowing and sometimes ECTA ends up doing that themselves. Remember ECTA has half of what they need to finance the project, would completely maintain the entire facility and was only asking for revenue that is deemed to be used for projects that put heads in hotel rooms which the facility also does. Your post is ridiculous and non-sensical

        • We all chip in for some small average use of parks in taxes, yes. Most people visit a park from time to time. Some don’t visit, but still enjoy the scenery.

          Most, don’t demand indoor tennis.

          The stadium, burdette, swonder, all charge fees, don’t they? Will this tennis facility require fees?

          Hey. I don’t deny you might have some argument, comparably to other “temples of sport” (CCO), that tennis is governmentally under funded. It’s when you claim that position to be “educated”, you draw my ire.

          We know exactly how it works, you have 1/2 the money, and you want to pander the “projected revenues” for the other half, from the government. I understand, it’s the way the world works. Doesn’t mean I have to like it. And, by wheeling and dealing, leaving the government/society out ANY net benefit.

          An educated person should realize the irony, that you are at least partially, responsible for “shoddy”.

          • My comment about uneducated referred to the comment by the first poster about saving the nature center. He is uninformed of the facts as are many in this community. The building project is not at issue that is a done deal, the money requested is the issue and is designated for projects that can generate hotel stays. These are the things people are uneducated about. This project fulfills the CVB mission plus gives the community a first class facility for commuity use. I would not expect indoor tennis to be free there would be no way to support the facility but outdoor tennis would remain that way. Even with the other venues charging fees they require subsidy from your tax dollar. ECTA has proven they can do a first class job without additional tax revenue. One only has to look at the current improvements to see that. I don’t skate, golf, swim or play soccer but I realize the benefits these types of facilities bring to our community and don’t begrudge those who use these facilities. It isn’t hard to look around and see that Evansville often has trouble doing things right. The deterioration of our parks, the lack of a hotel are all good examples. This facility is a win-win for the parks department and the city. It would have been financed by private funds and taxes generated by people who visit our city, would bring more people to the city, be completely maintained by a private organization with a great track record, and would be there for the community to enjoy.

          • Where’s the data on how many overnight visitors this facility will bring? How many events will be held per year that will draw people from far enough away that they will spend the night?

            When you say the right to build is a done deal, seems like I remember reading that the ECTA had to do certain things by a certain date and those dates have passed. Am I wrong?

  4. ECTA has fulfilled all of their obligations required by their lease with the city. The CVB has the data and I believe it was posted here when they presented it last month. National junior tennis tournaments bring players from all over the country as well as Puerto Rico. The level tournaments that ECTA is bidding for always fill their draws. College championships always require overnight stays by those universities participating and the adult championships that they are vieing for will bring players from Indianapolis leagues that will require overnight stays.

  5. Makes sense to me. The CVB took the “pie in the sky” numbers that ECTA GAVE THEM and ran the ROI. The numbers did not add up. How funny is it that when it looked like the tide was turning against ECTA, suddenly Mr Vincent and Mr Clements claimed that really ECTAonly needed $500,000. It sure looked like “Lets get what we can for us”. Thank you CVB for getting thru emotions and politics to make sound fiscal decisions!

    • The 500,000 will only build the indoor courts. ECTA would prefer to complete both the indoor and the outdoor courts but is willing to do one at a time if necessary. Indoor first of course. The numbers are very conservative. Unfortunately the only people present at todays meeting who are familiar with tennis and the economic impact these tournaments can produce were the ECTA people.

      • BLACKMAIL 101
        Your main problem isn’t your numbers or the education of those you’re attempting to convince. It’s that you aren’t threatening to leave the city.

        Your economic impact, is your economic impact. Whoopie – you are not entitled to it – this is a community!

        When a person/company moves here, they can’t blackmail the government into handing them cash – unless they threaten to leave or move elsewhere. (Not that I agree with it, it just is.)

        • The economic impact is this communities economic impact. We don’t own the businesses or hotels that will benefit from bringing tournament players into the city.

          • Right.

            You’re acting like you deserve all those projected benefits. Sorry, you don’t.

            Yes, others, do “GET” those benefits – but only through strong arm tactics. “Logical” arguments and public appeal only get you so far.

      • Of course “indoor first”. That is what will support the “club” that is using wesselman’s as a personal teaching center.

        Conservative numbers?? 13,000 rooms? 19 new tournaments? REALLY. IF IF IF you get 19 tournaments, that means there would be an average of 684 room nights per tournament. The “level 2” tournament that you want to get is currently in Jasper. There are less than 50 participants. That seems far from conservative.

        It is awful arrogant to say that the only peope at the meeting that understand tennis and usta tournaments are ECTA people. I believe that there were people who do this as a profession in attendance. ECTA, while a group of fine people, are volunteers with a passion, but with no real capital or risk on the line.

        HOW arrogant. “only we understand how important the city’s money is to our club” That attitude gives all tennis participants and fans a bad reputation.

  6. Could someone explain to me why this is such a big issue? Do our taxes pay for the multitude of the public baseball fields and public golf courses in the area? Neither one of these sports do I play, but I don’t complain about it. My family is interested in learning the game of tennis, but can’t afford the high fees associated at the only “private” indoor facility. I would assume there would be fees at the indoor courts just as the public golf courses. At one time, did the public golf courses received public money to establish itself and do they not have local people running the facility, charging whatever it cost to maintain itself? So, again, why is the tennis issue any different?

    • B Mc

      Great question. Yes there are fees associated with local golf courses, and yes they are lower than private clubs in the area. But that analogy ends there. ECTA is not forced to bid for the concessionaire aggreement that golf pros are. There is a PRIVATE entity that ECTA gives/rents SOLE rights to that uses Wesselman as a profit center for private indivuduals/entities. NOBODY ELSE can do what these people do because they are favored by ECTA. The current courts are already monoplized by ECTA for their friends and “members”. ECTA just wants the city dollars to fund MORE of their personal “private” tennis association. If the indoor courts are built with or without city dollars, the people/entities that ECTA favors will monopolize those courts too. The public part of the deal is the joke… public funds.. private use.

      • Still this is no different than the golf pros at the PUBLIC golf courses charging for private lessons. The people that I have recently spoken to at Wesselmans for lessons have been nothing but nice and very welcoming to my family and I happen to not be “friends” or a “member” YET. How lucky for Evansville to have the PROs willing to build tennis for any age level willing to go out and enjoy the sport.

        • Did you get the pricing from the “pros”? Friendly…yes, welcoming….yes. Running a private, FOR PROFIT club/courts/facility with public dollars….YES. Were the courts full? If not, why do we need more? Follow the money….it’s gonna get cold and that entity making big dollars for individuals doesn’t work in the cold… They “need” indoor courts to keep making their profit. The “pros” are not willing to build courts as you state. They have their hands out (through ECTA) to have the city build them.

          • Yes, I did receive pricing for lessons and I can tell you it’s less expensive than the only “private” indoor facility in town, plus the class sizes are so much smaller and times work out perfectly for my family. ECTA’s mission is to “build tennis in the community” and if other private club in the area were smart, they would embrace the idea. Having a pro at Wesselman is no different than the pros at the PUBLIC golf courses doing the same thing, charging for group lessons or private lessons!!! And, yes, THE COURTS WERE FULL!!!

        • There is a difference.. a huge difference. The pros at the golf courses “bid” for the ability to use the courses as their place of business. The golf pros don’t ask 1.1 milllion dollars for a facility to teach golf at personal profit for the winter months. The Golf pros are accountable for rounds played, events organized and meeting budgets of current facilities.

          Ecta is asking for 1.1 million to be able to build a club for an entitiy that is now defunct. They were not able to keep their building/business afloat on their own, so now they are looking for tax dollars to build them a new club.
          Is it possible that the lessons are cheaper at Wesselmans. OBVIOUSLY, the city is funding their land, they pay no property taxes, Underwriting some of their electric bill… The cost of business is WAY less if the taxpayers absorb your overhead. Expanding tennis. ECTA may be involved in this, but the teaching entity is a FOR PROFIT “club” that has a no-bid contract with ECTA for exclusive use of the facility on the terms that it wishes. Please note some key words here “NO-BID” “EXCLUSIVE” “FOR PROFIT” “TAXPAYER UNDERWRITING” I am sure if the city went to the “other for-profit” club and absorbed it’s overhead, they too could offer reduced rate lessons. It is simply a matter of fairness. ECTA is trying to grab city money to build a club for their cronies. They are using the guise of tourism. Jasper, IN just had a level 2 midwest tournament (a tournament that ECTA stood up and said it wanted to qualify for). 48 participants. The funny thing is, Jasper has no indoor courts, so ECTA could have bid on that tournament but chose not to. ECTA “growing” tennis is only a small piece of this. Follow the imported cars and designer sunglasses you see at wesselman tennis center and you will see what this is really about.

  7. Public funds…private use. That is what we do not need. We are in an age of me too! I want my subsidy, a handout, a bailout. It was correct for the CVB to say no to this.
    Just an idea… Roberts Stadium, neighboring the park, could be reconfigured to accomodate 3 indoor tennis courts. Not permanent mind you. Perhaps part of an overall plan to make that venue a multi-purpose facility. Potential other uses: indoor golf driving range, restuarants and specialty retail stores. Maybe even a church as suggested in a letter to the editor.

  8. I would guess building 3 indoor courts at Roberts Stadium would cost alot more then ECTA is asking the CVB for. How would you propose the upkeep and construction of these courts be paid for. Not a cost effective solution. ECTA has no membership or associated fees. The ECTA programming that is done at Wesselmans is what pays the upkeep of that facility. Without ECTA’s leagues and summer lesson programs the parks department would still be in charge and I can assure you that the $800,000 worth of upgrades and quality maintenance of the courts would not be there. Instead the courts would be in the same shape as other city courts. There are many people giving private lessons at Wesselmans and ECTA stops none of them from doing that. Memorial High School also rents the courts from ECTA which monopolizes the courts for a good part of the day in the spring and fall, but I am sure the above poster would not want us to discontinue that relationship. ECTA also provides a free middle school tennis program, free adult lessons on Saturday morning, and any number of clinics during our pro tournament which are all free to the public. The courts are also used free of cost for the EVSC to hold the SIAC tournaments and sectionals and have also been used by Harrison and Bosse when the need arose. ECTA is a non-profit entity whose funds are put right back into the facility no matter where those funds come from. I would question what the so called community tennis association known as Ta-Ta operated out of Tri-State Athletic Club does with the fees it collects.

  9. TSTS. Why are you so combative? My suggestion was that Roberts could be made into a facility to support tennis tournaments. Something I thought you might be agreeable with. It could be made into a multi-functional facility with an overall concept similar to what is proposed with the Greyhoung bus station. Tennis matches, among other events, could be held in the stadium that would support the other business locating in the facility.
    If this would be done correctly, and create jobs, I would have no problem with the use of public funding.

  10. TSTS, you didn’t answer my questions. I see where someone else referred to 19 Tournaments, etc… where do I find this info?

  11. Yes, I did receive pricing for lessons and I can tell you it’s less expensive than the only “private” indoor facility in town, plus the class sizes are so much smaller and times work out perfectly for my family. ECTA’s mission is to “build tennis in the community” and if other private club in the area were smart, they would embrace the idea. Having a pro at Wesselman is no different than the pros at the PUBLIC golf courses doing the same thing, charging for group lessons or private lessons!!!

  12. There are two financial differences between professionals at the city golf courses and Wesselman Tennis Center:
    1) Golf pros must go thru a bidding process so the city can decide which
    “package” a golf pro puts together is most beneficial to the city
    2) The city is not asked to “invest” in facilities that will benefit the
    golf pro’s income more than it will increase the cities income.

    Ecta’s numbers clearly do not merit the investment (not to mention the loss of parkland, or the fact that ECTA did not fulfill its contract) CVB ran ECTAs numbers and showed a paltry ROI.

    ONCE AGAIN. If this is such a great investment…. Buy land, purchase a building, and show us the money. Why should the city shoulder the cost (in both parkland and monies) for something that ECTA believes soooo strongly is a winner. They have 120 members… let them each pony up for their new club.

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