City leaders to debate tennis complex in Florence

FLORENCE, Ala. – The Florence City Council has a big decision to make. They are weighing whether or not they will move forward with a competition style tennis complex at Veterans Park.

For close to a year, there have been talks about building a 31-court tennis complex where four ball fields now sit.

Florence Mayor Steve Holt said a feasibility study just returned.

“I think the indication is going to be that certainly the community can sustain that number of courts,” Holt explained. “It will be a council decision as whether we move forward or not.”

Mayor Holt said they would have to move the ball fields out of Veterans Park to make room. That would cost the city $3.5-million to build a new pod at the current sports complex.

Florence Mayor Steve Holt

“It’s probably going to be $9+ million to do all of that,” stated Holt. “It will require a 3% lodging tax to amortize the debt and to probably even subsidize the project.”

Holt said the complex would be admission based for players wanting use the courts.

According to Holt, UNA is also interested in leasing some of the courts for their tennis program.

And with sponsorship opportunities for tournaments, he believes the city could make a good go at the project.

“All of those things will be revenue producing to help us make this as close to breaking-even as possible,” said Holt.

The city council will likely begin the debate about whether or not the tennis complex is right for the city next week.

The Tennessee Valley Authority has signed off on the tennis complex proposal by the city of Florence. TVA leases the property at Veterans Park to the city and holds control over what can be put on the land.