Donations still being accepted to offset remainder of project
BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Despite a brand new rock subsurface already in place, advocates for the city’s first outdoor pickleball facility touched golden shovels to the ground on Monday as an official groundbreaking for the new courts.
About $252,000 has already been raised, including large donations from the City of Fort Madison to include some in-kind work as well as a substantial Southeast Iowa Regional Riverboat Commission grant, along with other donations from players, banks, businesses, and other locally-interested parties.
About 40 people met at Victory Park on Monday to christen the new facility. Plans include six new pickleball courts, wind-break fencing, and lighting for night play.
Lynn Hoyer, one of the board members of the Fort Madison Pickleball Association, said other communities are already reaching out to work up tournament play.
“That’s in the future,” Hoyer said. “Right now, funding is at about $252,000 and we’re still doing fundraising. We have a fundraiser coming up at the Railyard soon.”
They don’t know what the total funding amount will be because some additional projects like a shelter house and additional walkways will also come from pickleball fundraising.
City crews have taken down a concrete restroom and dilapidated shelter house, and removed several trees in the park to make room for the expanded footprint that will allow for all six courts.
Board member Donna Amandus said construction could start very quickly after the board signs the contract. She hopes by the end of summer to have work started for fall weather playing.
“This will be come out and play for a while, we’ll get things organized eventually, but it’s going to be a great asset to the community,” she said.
“We love that Keokuk has them and we love that Mt. Pleasant has them and we’re all going to play together,” Amandus said.
She said local players at the YMCA have almost doubled since the city moved forward with the projects.