The Rockhill Tennis Club is a private organization that has leased the Laura Nelson Kirkwood Home from The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art since 1955. The tennis club amenities, including a swimming pool, tennis courts, bar and dining room, are enjoyed by members of the club, who are from area neighborhoods and surrounding cities.
The lease was signed in 1955, then amended and restated in 1975, then extended and amended in 1992. At that time, 16 years ago, it was agreed by all that the lease would expire on Dec. 31, 2009. In 1999 the Nelson-Atkins made it known to the tennis club that the Museum did not intend to renew the lease.
Discussions continued, and the Museum’s decision was made officially clear in writing in 2004.
Over the past few years, dozens of meetings have occurred between Museum staff and representatives of the tennis club. The Nelson-Atkins has on many occasions offered assistance, including financial help, to the club in finding a new site.
Recently the issue was put before the Kansas City Council, which passed an ordinance that affects the ongoing dialogue in this issue. It will not, however, change the fact that the tennis club’s lease expires at the end of next year.