Hundreds help grace city's pickleball courts

Nabulsis donate $20K at event to sponsor final court


FORT MADISON – When a pickleball group wanted to build a six-court facility where an old tennis court used to be in Victory Field, they went to a lady who could get it done.
Fort Madison City Councilwoman Donna Amandus stepped to the plate and helped lead the effort to get the facility funded and built.
The culmination of that event took place on a hazy, Canadian-fueled afternoon at that park in Fort Madison.
Fort Madison Mayor Matt Mohrfeld welcomed several hundred people to the event and thanked the efforts of the Fort Madison Pickleball Association.
Mohrfeld again espoused the benefits of private/public partnerships in bringing projects to fruition in Fort Madison.
“This isn’t just a pickleball court, but an icon for the people of Fort Madison,” Mohrfeld said. “This happened because people banded together and came up with resources, time, and effort to build this.”
Mohrfeld recognized the Pickleball Association and city staff for helping bring the project together.
The courts took the place of an underutilized tennis court on the park’s southwest corner. The tennis court was completely pulled up and a new foundation was laid down in the fall. A new surface was put down. New fencing was added and court squares were painted blue with the brick-colored “kitchen” near each net.
Amandus said the turnout Sunday afternoon for the grand-opening was more than she expected.
“Over a year and a half of fundraising and just an amazing thing to see this many people show up to celebrate this amazing grand opening," Amandus said.
"They are beautiful courts, I’m not sure there are any prettier courts around that I’m aware of."
“And well-used,” said Pickleball Association member Lynn Hoyer.
“I had a little guy ask me if I was the pickball lady and I thought, 'Oh no, here we go', but I told him I play pickleball and he said he looks forward to getting up every morning and seeing all the people playing and it’s like it’s put new life into the park.”
Amandus said she didn’t have that kind of vision for the success of the park, but Hoyer said she did based on the growth of the sport.
“The number of people that have used it already has been a surprise to me since that was really a soft opening,” Amandus said.
Hoyer said the park has become a hangout for young kids.
“It’s not just Fort Madison. It’s Fort Madison, Keokuk, Burlington, Mt. Pleasant, and all the kids that were playing the other night. Nice kids."
Amandus said the courts are pretty much completed, but there are couple of other things that the committee wants to do.
“But nothing to be announced yet,” Amandus said.
But she did announce at the event that five of the six courts had been sponsored at $20,000 each, but the one court that didn’t have a sponsor yet was up for sale for $19,999, Amandus said with a chuckle.
That move proved effective as Sharon Scholl-Nabulsi and Moudy Nabulsi offered to sponsor the final court and cut a check before the end of the day’s festivities.

Fort Madison, Victory Park, pickleball, courts, association, donation, ribbon-cutting, Sunday, recreation, parks, board, Mayor, City Council, Pen City Current, news


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