Monday, May 23, 2011

City passes on tennis champion Johan Kriek

Countryside Indoor Tennis Building

Kissito Healthcare wanted a good portion of the Countryside property that could have paid off the loan on the $4.1 million property. A chorus of “no can do” came from the city in March.

The city’s inflexibility forced Kissito to move on to other property. Meanwhile the city continues the $400,000 yearly bank payments on the property.

Begging for the Countryside tennis building as far back as November 18, 2010 according to FOIA documents was George Cartledge, III. Cartledge and his wife Barbara along with the Bernard and Hearp family were prepared to renovate the tennis building and even offered to buy it for $250,000.

George Cartledge, III is President of Grand Home Furnishings in Roanoke.

This group was negotiating with Johan Kriek, a former two-time Australian Open Grand Slam winner and four-time senior Wimbledon champion. They were trying to find a public indoor tennis facility where junior tennis players could train in the winter under Kriek’s coaching.

There were to be clinics and programs with exhibitions at one of the city’s outdoor facilities. Kriek charges $3000 for exhibitions explained Barbara Cartledge in an email to Planning Administrator Chris Chittum on November 28, 2010. Tickets would be $25 to $50 per person. All proceeds would go directly to the city.

“This would benefit the city by bringing in many people from outside areas to Roanoke. It benefits the Visitor and Tourism of the Roanoke Valley and would create an incredible buzz in the tennis world,” said Barbara Cartledge in the email.

They wanted to repair and begin use of the Countryside tennis building by January 3, 2011. In addition they offered $1500 a month to lease it.

It is unclear the length of the lease because by December 29 Cartledge was told “no can do.” Chittum had at least gone up the ladder to the city manager’s office. With a “cc” to Assistant City Manager, Brian Townsend, Chittum said in an email to Cartledge, “They have discussed and concluded that it would be best to let the planning process for Countryside run its course.”

“Sorry to be the bearer of bad news,” said Chittum in the email.

Another “no can do” and lost opportunity. So the Wimbledon champion moved on to Roanoke County a friendlier place to do business. CLICK HERE for The Roanoke Times January article.

There is a pattern as Tamea Woodward of EastWest Dyecom, Inc. expressed at a city council meeting a month ago. She was frustrated with the time it took to get her business up and running. She criticized the city’s Economic Development Department.

The Countryside property was the preferred location according to Tom Clarke, CEO of Kissto Healthcare. They had received approval in March to be a PACE center. PACE stands for Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly providing adult day care and home based services thereby avoiding nursing home institutionalization. The promise to the state was to have the center operational by the summer of 2012.

Now we can add another missed opportunity to Roanoke City’s list and another win on Roanoke County’s list. For Countryside the city will roll the dice on an “urban village.” A clue – no developer or realtor showed up for the open house the Planning Department held for them.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Business, Politics, Roanoke City Politics

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Comments (6)

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May 23rd, 2011 at 7:11 PM    

The city continues to shoot itself in the foot. Unless it’s their idea, it is a bad idea and rejected. That’s bad news for Roanoke City and good news for Roanoke County time and time again. But, wait! We do have the Taubman Museum. You know…the one which is going to bring people from all around the world flocking to Roanoke City. We are still waiting for the “flocking”. Now, I see they are hoping to turn it into a regional draw which is quite a change from “international”.


May 24th, 2011 at 12:11 PM    

And they wonder why we do not trust the city or their decisions……….go figure!!!D.W.

Weaver Gornthrough

May 24th, 2011 at 9:55 PM    

Lordy honey, it’s just a matter of consistency. “The Drain” continues. The same folks are dodging another bombshell. Der Chittum is getting ready to get hit with a program failure that is two years in arrears, and totally looks like incompetence at the least. Film at 11:00!

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