Call to Order: Committee Chairman Glenn Hunter called the meeting to order at 5:35 PM. Those members in attendance included: Glenn Hunter, Dolly Robinson, James Montgomery, John Lear, Nelson Rivera, Joe Hinkle, Joanne Hinkle, Adam Crocker and Mike Null.
Other local tennis enthusiasts in attendance included: Richard Johnson, Travis Hunter, Dr. Frank Broome.
Invited Guests included: Paula Vann, Tourist Development Director; Anjan Viplav, Tennis Director of the Tennis Forever Academy; Tom Sweitzer, USPTA Master Pro and Director of Orlando Tennis Centre; Scott Paschal, Tennis Program Director; International Tennis Players Ana Kharchenko and David Poole.
News Media: Stew Lilker of Columbia Observer Approval of Minutes: Not presented at this meeting.
Old Business: Chairman Hunter deferred other business as guests from out of town are here to present.
New Business: Chairman Hunter introduced Paula Vann of the TDC to the group and expressed appreciation for her attendance.
Chairman Hunter then introduced Anjan Viplav, tennis pro/director at Tennis Forever Academy in Lake City.
Chairman Hunter then introduced Scott Paschal from Alachua County area who is a tennis investor/developer.
Chairman Hunter then introduced Tom Sweitzer who came from Orlando to participate in the Tennis Forever Academy dedication and to present tonight.
Chairman Hunter indicated the purpose of tonight’s meeting is to hear from these Tennis Pro’s and the possible impact on Columbia County to include both private facilities and public facilities.
First to speak was Anjan Viplav of the newly dedicated Tennis Forever Academy located on Sister’s Welcome Road. “I’ve been here for four months. It’s a win-win for Lake City. The people here are bringing a lot of energy. We need to get tournaments set up here. Tennis is year round, not seasonal like most other sports.”
Next Mr. Hunter told the committee, “I met Scott about six or eight weeks ago in Orlando. He’s looking to invest in a very significant way in Columbia County.” Mr. Paschal told the committee, “I travel in different parts of the world. I’ve coached tennis for 30 years. I’ve coached players from 35 nations. I’ve got an interest to build a lodge housing tennis players. I researched different parts of America. I cannot say that Lake City was number one on my radar because there are so many great spots in Florida. As I researched Lake City, I found a lot of potential here. My goal is building an academy. I build the athletes that go into the world. Will it be Lake City; I don’t know. I am still researching it. But I’m interested enough to come here. This town’s captured my attention enough to where I would like to know more. I could build 8 courts in two months and have players lined up within a month to start using the facility”.
Tom Sweitzer then addressed the group. “The expansion of 102 court tennis facility in Orlando is having a positive impact in the local economy of that area; homebuilding around the new tennis complex is booming. For a tennis program to be successful and to have tournaments, you need at least 12 tennis courts with the potential to expand to 16 or 20. He explained that the USTA has just invested $62 million dollars in the facility in Orlando, but continue to support new facilities across the country; the normal level of participation is 10% toward construction.”
Paula Vann then asked the group to submit a plan to the TDC that identifies the portion requested in using public funds.
Chairman Hunter informed the group that the plan is to present a power point presentation to the TDC Board during its meeting on January 27, 2016.
The meeting adjourned at 7:00 PM.