Hear why planners are putting a pause on a new Gunbarrel tennis complex

The team behind a proposal to build a new tennis complex in Boulder’s Gunbarrel neighborhood have suspended their application for the facility. That happened last week.

The plan for the tennis facility would have developed a twenty acre site into a complex of twenty-six tennis courts, a clubhouse, and swimming pool. 

Early in February, we reported on the status of tennis courts in Boulder. Specifically, we spoke about the impending loss of 27 tennis courts in the area over the next two years, and heard from both those trying to make space for more courts in the county and those who staunchly oppose repurposing land in this way.

Two of the courts facing shutdown are home to Boulder’s most utilized tennis programs. One is the Rocky Mountain Tennis Center behind the Millenium Hotel. The other is CU Boulder’s tennis team which currently operates out of the school’s CU south campus.

Kendall Chitambar is a director at the Rocky Mountain Tennis Center, as well as a leader of the proposal to build the Gunbarrel tennis complex. KGNU’s Jackie Sedley spoke with Chitambar about the latest suspension.

Listen here:
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    Gunbarrel tennis Jackie Sedley

Transcript:

Kendall: Good morning Jackie. Thanks so much for having me.

Jackie: So I wanna start by asking for some clarification on why you suspended the application for this gun barrel tennis complex.

Kendall: So, the Tennis Center of the Rockies was really designed to be a continuation of what, what is being lost. And the goal was to find, you know, land that was affordable in the area, that was able to be developed by land use code as we interpreted it, and that’s what we believe we found between Gunbarrel and Niwot in the county off 79th Street. And unfortunately, there are concerns that have been voiced to us from county staff. We’re at the first level of the application process and because of those concerns, without wanting to rush through the process and really, really understand the concerns and work through them, we just decided to put everything on pause for now.

Jackie: I wanted to touch briefly on opposition to the proposed tennis complex. The opposition cites a need for land preservation and the close proximity to a burrowing owl habitat as two main reasons for their campaign to shut your efforts down. Do you or others working to build this tennis complex have responses to that right now?

Kendall: No, I don’t think so. I think that we want to, we want to really, learn and understand all the details, all the specifics. You know, the main thing for me is to really make sure that the information that’s out there is, is accurate and we’re hoping to take the time to tell the story properly. I think that we’ve been reacting to a narrative that maybe has been put out there incorrectly and our, our goal is to take the time to really, you know, understand all those concerns and to handle them one by one.

Jackie: So what happens now that the application is tabled? Obviously the application going on hold doesn’t mean that the next tennis season is on hold.

Kendall: Yeah, we’re all left scrambling to find a home. The sad part about it is that all of us in local tennis are doing really, really well at Rocky Mountain Tennis Center. The project that I’ve put my entire life into over the last 20 years is having one of its best seasons with, you know, so many kids that are coming to play, so many adults. You can’t get a court in our bubble at Rocky Mountain Tennis Center. All the communities, the different demographics that use this facility are being left homeless, you know, for their, for their, you know, a huge part of their lives, which is the sport that they love.

Whether it’s our seniors who have been with us for decades, active adults, children who want to play, kids with a dream. Our wheelchair tennis program is doing amazing right now. Our, our two best players just won one of the biggest tournaments in the world. Sabina Saos is now six or seven in the world. She just got second place in singles. She won the doubles at the Cajun classic, which is kind of the fifth grand slam in tennis. The CU women’s team is having the best season ever. They posted on Instagram recently that they, they swept all of February. They won every match that they played in February. They’re currently, I think top 60 in the country right now. Rob Galloway, currently 41 in the world, on the ATP doubles tour, won his first ATP tour event at Delray Beach. Lives in the area, trains in the area, you know. I just started teaching his wife, Rachel, and all our kids are doing so, so well. We have Sandra who wants to go play at the Air Force Academy. She’s training every day. All our kids, you know, so many of our kids are going to be going without a home.

Jackie: So in this last minute here. Is there, is there a timeline for when you may pursue this application again or, or try to look around the community to find a space that is supportive of this sport?

Kendall: We hope to, to get back up very soon. We just feel like we need time to really understand the concerns from the county and to make sure that we address those concerns and are able to answer them in a good way. We really want to work with the community. That’s our main goal. We want to work with the county. We want to work with,the neighborhood, with the community. And we hope to get off the table and become active again, hopefully in the near future.

Jackie: Kendall Chitambar, one of the leaders of the proposal to build the Gun Barrel Tennis Complex plans, which are currently on hold. Thank you so much for joining us this morning.

Kendall: Thank you so much for having me, Jackie.

Jackie Sedley

Jackie Sedley

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