Greenville Kroc Center land swap paves way for tennis expansion
By: David Ibata
The Salvation Army in Greenville, South Carolina, has reached an agreement with the city to exchange land, opening the way to an expansion of the local Kroc Center’s renowned tennis center.
“Downtown Greenville is growing tremendously, and it’s very difficult to find available property in the city,” said Steve Cook, director of The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Greenville. “For us to identify and acquire property next to the Kroc Center is a tremendous benefit to The Salvation Army. It allows us to grow our program and impact more individuals in the community.”
The Kroc Center, operator of the tennis facility, opened in 2011 on the former site of a Baptist church. The church had swapped its land for the former Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club about a half-mile away. The club moved into the Kroc Center, and the church moved into the former club building. The Army retained two land parcels totaling 20 acres next to the church.
Fast-forward to 2019: The city of Greenville needs about four acres of The Salvation Army’s land holdings next to the Baptist church for its new Unity Park. It has offered to exchange 1.3 acres of city-owned property next to the tennis center.
That, and a quarter-acre tract recently acquired by the Army in a separate transaction, will make possible six new tennis courts in addition to the 16 courts plus stadium court already in play. The tennis center has more than 700 members, serves 600 school children ages 5 to 18 each year, and operates the largest United States Tennis Association adult league program in the state.
Major Pete Costas, Greenville area commander, said the tennis expansion land is under contract, and it will be about two years before The Salvation Army can take possession – until a sewer project that runs beneath the site is finished. That gives the Army time for a fundraising campaign that may launch early next year. The new courts are estimated to cost $700,000.
As for the parcel The Salvation Army is giving to the city, Major Costas said, “the land is vacant. In fact, it’s floodzone property, so it’s really limited what could be constructed on it, but it would meet city codes for a parking lot and sports fields.”
Greenville’s Unity Park is a $40 million project planned for 60 acres on the west side of Greenville.