Employees, neighbors react to Weddington purchase

Sofia Heller

Nicole Robbins has been a tennis coach at Weddington Golf and Tennis for 19 years, so when she found out that Harvard-Westlake had purchased the property and would be reserving the tennis courts she typically uses, she said she became worried for her livelihood.

“I think [Harvard-Westlake] will do a really nice job for the community, but as a tennis coach, I find it challenging because my hours and my ability to coach here have been cut way down,” Robbins said. “I totally understand that it’s [Harvard-Westlake’s] facility now, but for us pros who make our living here––my livelihood is teaching here––it’s a bit challenging.”

During the tennis season, Harvard-Westlake will reserve tennis courts from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, which Robbins said is “prime time” for her and other tennis coaches who teach students after school.

In addition to the unavailability of courts, Robbins said she is anxious about the future of Weddington because of the lack of information that Harvard-Westlake has given employees.
“Harvard-Westlake seems like they are wanting to work with us, but we have yet to see how that is going to manifest,” Robbins said.

Barbara Rose, who lives in the neighborhood surrounding Weddington, said she is also concerned about not knowing Harvard-Westlake’s plans.

“The concern I have as a community member is with the additional traffic, not only cars but foot traffic,” Rose said, “Also, making sure that there’s adequate parking so that you don’t have cars parking all over the neighborhood, crowding our sweet neighborhood.”

In contrast to Robbin’s and Rose’s concerns about the purchase, Eric Whitman, the golf martial at Weddington Golf and Tennis whose wife Ann-Marie Whitman is the executive assistant to President Rick Commons, said he is relieved that Harvard-Westlake purchased Weddington instead of another buyer.

“I think it’s probably the best purchase we could ask for because people that would probably normally buy this would tear it all down and build apartments, so at least we’re going to have an open space,” Whitman said.

Since Harvard-Westlake purchased Weddington, Whitman said the protocol has been status quo and he is anticipating finding out more information about future plans.
“I love this place,” Whitman said. “I am retired and this is where I want to be. It’s my oasis. The people that come here are very nice, and it’s a great place to be. We just have to wait and see.”