Esther New Head Shot 2018.jpg

A Note From Esther…

After a quiet summer at The Fort, nothing brings a bigger smile to my face than hearing the revolving door in the lobby constantly in motion with people finding themselves in the lifetime sport of tennis. Whether it is our permanent court time seniors, our daytime league ladies, our developing and high-performance juniors, our after-school TennisWorks students or all the new players participating in our programming for the first time, it is tennis and the community we have built which continues bringing people of all ages, ability levels and backgrounds together at The Fort. Welcome home! 
To ensure the best possible customer experience to all those who pass through that revolving door, we have recently added some new staff members including Jackson Farley (Tennis Instructor), Ryan Berkas (Curriculum and Evaluation Coordinator) and Grady McHugh (Communications and Events Associate). Also, long-time employee Dan Swanson has been promoted to Senior Desk Manager and Brian Grossman is our new Patron Services Manager. Please take a moment when you are checking in at the front desk and say hello to the newest members of our Fred Wells family. 
You will also notice this fall that we have added many new adult clinics and drills which work with any schedule. Let our coaches help take your game to the next level with new Cardio, All-Comers and Sunrise drills starting as early as 7 a.m. Visit our newly revamped website here and sign up for the perfect class that fits your busy lifestyle. 
Another exciting initiative kicking off NOW at The Fort is our FORTify Our Future Capital Campaign. As a non-profit, 501 (c)(3) organization, the Fred Wells Tennis & Education Center is not owned by the City of Minneapolis, nor does it receive any funding from them. However, our land lease with the city makes us legally obligated to maintain our property and finance all mandatory facility upgrades. If we do not perform these upgrades, The Fort will not be allowed to renew its lease with the City of Minneapolis, potentially causing us to close our doors. 
After 16 years, our bubbles have reached the end of their structural life and must be replaced for our lease to be renewed. That is where you come in as The Fort needs your help! 
Our goals are bold as we need to raise $1.7 million to “FORTify Our Future” and continue serving you – our tennis family.  Thus, the Capital Campaign is vitally important for us to make the following improvements: 

  • New bubbles in both the front and the back 

  • An additional tennis court, for a total of nine full-size courts meaning 5,400 hours of additional court time annually 

  • Air conditioning and improved energy efficiency inside the bubbles 

  • New LED lighting in both bubbles 

  • Upgraded parking facilities with 28 additional parking spaces, additional lighting and security cameras 

  • A new lighted walkway between the front and the back bubbles which will house additional storage for tennis equipment, a drinking fountain and a new donor recognition walkway honoring all those who contribute to the Capital Campaign 

We have received lead gifts of $150,000 from our Board President Rick Rinkoff and his wife Julia Ferguson, as well as a $50,000 gift from Michele and Tom Mingo to kick off the campaign. We are currently 20 percent of the way to our goal after the first month and need to keep that momentum going as construction of the new walkway is happening now (Pardon our dust during this process.)! Please consider joining us in supporting The Fort during our time of need. 

For more information about the campaign, or for different ways you can contribute, please visit or contact Lisa Mushett, Capital Campaign Manager, directly at or at (612) 804-4008.  
Together, we will continue the tradition of the Fred Wells Tennis & Education Center being the premier public tennis facility in the Twin Cities where we focus not only on tennis, but beyond in building the future. 

See you on the courts, 

Esther Tsai 
Executive Director 
Fred Wells Tennis & Education Center