Tennis courts

Council approves funds for improvement of Ottumwa tennis courts

OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) — Ottumwa’s tennis courts are in poor condition. That’s according to Mark Hanson, principal and four-year tennis coach for Ottumwa High School. Hanson, accompanied by a delegation from Ottumwa Schools and Friends of Ottumwa Parks, took the matter to Ottumwa Town Council, seeking funding.

They showed the council photos from the courts, pointing out numerous rust spots and cracks filled with pine chaff and dirt.

It got so bad that Ottumwa High School organizes tennis matches at Ottumwa Country Club and their invitation to Fairfield Middle School.

“We need to do better for our tennis kids,” Superintendent Mike McGrory said at the meeting. “It’s the way to show that we are going to do better.”

The project is expected to cost $2.1 million. $750,000 of that would come from the Ottumwa City Council, with the school district matching the amount. But that still leaves the remaining $600,000 from grants and fundraising. This is where the Friends of Ottumwa Parks come in, who will work to secure these funds.

Bob Kramer of the Friends of Ottumwa Parks says repairing these lands is a quality of life issue. He says the parks are a big draw for people who aren’t in town. “It’s the first thing people come to Ottumwa to do…enjoy our parks.”

Money for the city would either come from US bailout funds or bail.

The question was put to a vote – and passed, 4 to 1. The only no came from Doug McAntire. He was not against the idea, but wanted to table it for once the new council will have more experience.

“I think it’s fair, as a board, to know a bit more about our work before we vote on something that’s three-quarters of a million dollars.”

The Friends of Ottumwa Parks hope to begin construction in the fall.

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