In 2000 the Evansville Community Tennis Association, a non-profit 501C3 approached the city Parks Department about the possibility of leasing the 8 tennis courts at Wesselman Park. The city agreed to a 25-year lease with the possibility of a 10-year extension. In return ECTA agreed to maintain the courts as well as make specified improvements. The lease also included an adjacent open field and granted ECTA the option of building additional outdoor courts or an indoor facility on that field.
ECTA began making improvements immediately. Four additional post tension courts were added, the parking area was expanded, and new state of the art lighting was added. In 2007 a new clubhouse was built. The project was funded by private donations, proceeds from a $10,000.00 Women’s Pro Circuit event run by a local tennis club, league fees, an auction, various fundraising projects, and a $105,000.00 bank loan which was repaid in 18 months. In 2009 a viewing stand spanning the length of six courts was added with volunteer labor. The original 8 courts were repainted and relined in 2010. The total cost of this project was $700,000.00 and is estimated to outlive the initial and extended lease term.
The tennis courts at Wesselman Park are used by ECTA for league play, lesson programs, our community middle school program and tournaments. The EVSC and the University of Evansville also use the courts. When not in use by ECTA the courts remain open to the public at no cost.
The mission of the Evansville Community Tennis Association is to grow tennis in the Evansville Community. The upkeep and maintenance of the tennis courts at Wesselman Park continues to be supported by our programming and fundraising efforts.
When the Evansville Community Tennis Association, a non-profit 501C3, negotiated the lease for the tennis courts at Wesselman Park with the city of Evansville in 2000 they knew the time might come when there would be a need for for additional indoor courts in the city. The need for additional outdoor courts was already there. Included in the lease was the parcel of land directly east of the courts. The lease was written to allow ECTA to build additional outdoor courts or an indoor facility on the property. At that time there was a 3-court facility downtown and a facility on the eastside that included 6 indoor courts in the winter and 4 in the summer.
In the summer of 2010 the city announced the proposed demolition of a downtown parking garage. Unfortunately, that parking garage housed a tennis club and 3 of the city’s indoor courts. After discussion with the clubs owners it was apparent that rebuilding or relocating their club would not be an option. The destruction of those courts would be a huge loss to the area tennis community including the men and women’s tennis programs at the University of Southern Indiana who played and practiced there. ECTA was approached by a local Foundation about possible partial funding that would be available for the construction of an indoor and outdoor facility at Wesselman Park. The project would include 6 indoor and 6 outdoor courts that would revert back to the city at the end of the lease term. A design was completed with the help of the USTA and the project was approved by the city parks department in June of 2011. With that approval ECTA began looking for additional funding for the project. There was also some legal opposition to the project in the park, which threatened the delay of the construction. At this point ECTA decided the best option was to proceed with the project at another location and assume the debt that was not covered by the foundation themselves. Unfortunately, the outdoor courts would have to be put to hold.
In April of 2012, ECTA announced the construction project and we broke ground on April 15th. The project was supervised by the ECTA board, which consisted of 3 officers and 10 board members.
On October 28th, 2012 ECTA opened the Evansville Tennis Center at a final cost of $2.3 million. The Foundation’s contribution was $750,000.00 , and additional contributions totaled $80,000.00. The remainder has been financed by the CTA.
The Evansville Tennis Center supported by our programming, fundraising activities, which include an annual auction a Women’s Pro-Circuit Event, as well as private donations. The club offers a full range of tennis programming and although we are member based we are also open to the public.