Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Price of Passion

Art Tollick is passionate about tennis. Art is so passionate about the game that for the past eight years or so he dedicated himself full time to getting a world class tennis facility built in HoCo. Yesterday, that dream was likely dealt a fatal blow when the county exec decided to move forward with the development of the new Troy Hill Park without the Troy Park Tennis and Sports Center.

According to this story by Kevin Rector in Explore Howard, a recent study commissioned by the Maryland Stadium Authority determined that the “complex's ability to attract major tournaments would not be guaranteed, the cost of operating the facility as a public amenity would be high, and its economic benefits would be diminished by the county's lack of nearby hotels.”

Art’s group, Howard County Tennis Patrons, successfully lobbied the county to dedicate thirteen acres of land in the future Troy Hill Park for construction of a $44 million tennis stadium and training facility. Initially the group had hoped to use private money to develop the project but the recession dampened enthusiasm from private investors. Undaunted, the group then sought additional financial support from the county. Before the county would commit, they wisely commissioned the study.

I should note that I was not a supporter of public funding for this tennis park. I was skeptical of the economic benefits and I felt that the site itself had some serious issues, particularly with regards to parking.

That being said, I still admire and respect someone who puts themselves “out there” to fight for something they passionately believe in. For Art, the failure of this effort has to sting but sometimes that is the price of passion. Still, it is far better to have tried and failed then not having tried at all.
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