By: Diane Emeott Korzen Contributing Writer
A proposal from tennis star Rafael Nadal to bring a tennis facility to Patch Reef Park has been struck down by the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District board.
After the April 16 meeting of the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District board ended negotiations with the Nadal organization— for now, according to Executive Director Arthur Koski.
“The District indicated it will cease all negotiation with the Nadal Group, effective immediately,” he said.
Additionally, the board will seek to hire an architect for a new master plan for the park as well as a topographic survey. The last survey was done when the park was built. Patch Reef Park was purchased Dec. 30, 1981. The existing Tennis Center was dedicated Feb. 20, 1988.
Koski estimates the topographic survey will be completed by the end of May.
The Beach & Park District next meets on Monday, May 7 at 5:15 p.m. in the Sugar Sand Park Community Center.
Initial drawings from tennis great Rafa Nadal’s people for a proposed Nadal Tennis Facility at Patch Reef Park were posted on the green boards in Sugar Sand Community Center Conference Room during the April 2 Greater Boca Raton Beach & Parks District meeting.
The topic caused many residents to protest the proposal at both April meetings.
Upon seeing “Update On Nadal Tennis Facility” listed on the Beach & Park District agenda, several residents came out to speak, to express their concerns about how having a tennis center by someone of Nadal’s high caliber could potentially disrupt more low-key Patch Reef Park activities, such as taking a walk on the trails.
The proposed facility was first brought up in August. Kossi told the board he took a meeting with Nadal’s management team in New York to discuss their desire to establish a tennis facility in Boca Raton.
Board commissioners also expressed concerns about the location of the proposed facility and the size of it.
Commissioner Erin Wright said it looked like the facility would be built on the same spot as some of the running trails and current courts.
“I thing the Mega Plan is too big for the park — that’s my initial thought after hearing from the community. Tonight, most of the comments have been negative… Unless they [the Nadal group] are willing to scale it down,” Chairman of the Beach & Parks District Robert Rollins said on April 2. “I sense this might be a more aggressive site plan than what we first talked about.”