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Effort to Build Regional Tennis Center Gains Traction

Burnsville tennis nuts take note: A plan to build an indoor court complex on the east edge of Shakopee is taking root.

Burnsville's tennis enthusiasts may be in luck. This Tuesday, the Shakopee City Council approved a request by the Shakopee Tennis Association to begin a feasibility study of an eight-court, indoor tennis center.

Officials with the STA are hoping that the center will develop an ample following from Burnsville, Savage and other nearby towns.

The Preliminary Plan

Thus far, the preliminary business plan calls for a permanent building with eight indoor courts and eight outside at a plat of land known as the Shutrop Park site, an undeveloped 52-acre parcel near Dean Lake. Ideally, the STA would raise the funds to build and operate the center, though the city would retain ownership of the land. The association is asking for a minimal lease on the tract—perhaps even as low as $1. The building would allow tennis fans to play year-round. The center would be open to the general public from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day of the year except for Christmas, New Year's, Easter, and the Fourth of July. 

A permanent, bricks-and-mortar structure is essential, proponents say. The association would not be interested in building a bubble structure, said President Dave Forbes.

"Their useful life is seven years and they're cold, noisy, and have to have giant fans," Forbes told the council. "There haven't been any new ones built in a long time because of the maintenance costs."

Forbes said that the STA is confident that the center could be in the black within three years. By current projections, the center would run a $7,144 deficit in the first year one, but would have positive income by the second.  

Turning Shakopee into a Tennis Destination

Once complete, STA officials hope to make the center into a regional tennis hub for the southwest metro and go-to venue for tournaments. Forbes said that the center would meet pent-up demand. Though there are private indoor courts in the area, public facilities severely lacking, he said.  

"We have nothing south of 494 or west of 35W that is public. There aren't a lot of eight-court facilities in the Twin Cities," Forbes said. The ones we do have are running at 97 percent capacity." 

A demographic analysis suggests that the center would pull in patrons from not just Shakopee, but Burnsville, Apple Valley Eden Prairie, Belle Plaine, Jordan, and Edina.

If feasibility study shows promise, the STA will begin fundraising efforts in the south metro. 

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