Southeast Iowa Regional Riverboat Commission commits $75,000 to project
BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – A drive down by 24th Street and Avenue H shows what looks to be a mess on the southwest corner of Victory Park.
But in reality it’s just the opposite.
A group of dedicated and passionate women have taken the southwest corner of the park under their arms, and are running toward a fundraising goal of about $250,000 to put in six new pickleball courts where the former tennis courts used to be.
Southeast Iowa Regional Riverboat Commission informed the Fort Madison Pickleball Association Friday that association would be receiving a $75,000 grant to help pay for the new project.
Fort Madison City Councilwoman Donna Amandus, who’s helping spearhead the new courts said the $75,000 grant puts the group at about 2/3 of their funding goal.
The space now has had fencing removed by the city as in-kind contributions to the project. The city also went in and pulled off the cover that was used for the tennis courts, leaving just the subsurface, some poles, and the lighting.
Trees have also been removed near the courts to make room for the footprint of the new addition to the park.
The city council committed $50,000 in cash to the project on top of the in-kind donations of labor to get the surface ready.
The tennis courts had very little use at the park due to the poor condition, and quality of a refurbishing that took place about 10 years ago.
However, several neighbors and park board members pushed back saying the city should have some additional tennis courts. The city currently has six courts at Fort Madison High School that are publicly available when not in use by the high school. There are four other courts at Holy Trinity Catholic that the public can use when not in use by the schools.
The city currently has no outdoor pickleball courts with the YMCA being the only place where the sport can be played with limited availability.
Victory Park is the only location, however, that has lighting for night play.