BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – An initiative is underway to convert the tennis courts at Victory Park in Fort Madison into six pickleball courts.
Fort Madison City Councilor Donna Amandus is part of a group at the forefront of the effort. She said preliminary estimates indicate the work will cost around $ 130,000 and the committee is looking for donations.
“Pickleball has become very popular. You still have to wait for the YMCA court, ”Amandus said. She said she tried the game on Friday and enjoyed it.
A tour of the Fort Madison Park board earlier this year through Victory Park sparked the conversation about the transition.
The courts are the only courts in town with lighting for nighttime play and are centrally located. However, Fort Madison has 10 other tennis courts, six at Fort Madison High School and four at Holy Trinity Catholic that are available to the public.
The Victory Park tennis courts were renovated in 2015, but the work did not last very long and the court itself, which was an overlay, began to undulate rapidly and the courts became unusable.
Initial plans included using more of the park space just west of the grounds to expand and add a few pickleball courts, but Amandus said the committee was simply considering replacing the entire set. installation by pickleball.
“With this plan, we could only have done two pickleball fields. So we’re going to put our hearts and souls into doing the six.
The group overseeing the effort is the Fort Madison Pickleball Association. They won’t apply for nonprofit status, but instead will work with the Fort Madison Beautification Foundation, which is a 501c3 nonprofit to channel donations and grants.
She said Keokuk and Mt. Pleasant have both obtained grants of $ 25,000 from the Iowa Economic Development Authority to build these pickleball facilities and that this group will pursue this option as well.
Other committee members include Bev Brockman, Lynn Hoyer, Sandy Miller, Phyllis Porter, Sharon Bartlett and Rita Holtkamp.
Amandus said the committee is currently accepting donations to help with the transition and that checks can be sent to the Fort Madison Beautification Foundation with “PickleBall” written in the line of the memo. Checks can be mailed to Pickleball Association Treasurer Lynn Hoyer at 10 High Point in Fort Madison.
Anyone wishing more information or to contribute to the efforts are encouraged to contact Brockman at 372-7502 or Amandus at 470-4881.