BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON — A move is underway to convert the Victory Park tennis courts in Fort Madison into six pickleball courts.
Fort Madison Councilwoman Donna Amandus is among a group leading the effort. She said preliminary estimates indicate the work will cost around $130,000 and the committee is seeking donations.
“Pickleball has become very popular. You always have to wait for the court at the YMCA,” Amandus said. She said she tried the game on Friday and enjoyed it.
A visit from the Fort Madison Park Board of Directors earlier this year via Victory Park started the transition conversation.
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 accessible to the public.
The Victory Park tennis courts were renovated in 2015, but the work didn’t last very long and the court itself, which was an overlay, began to ripple rapidly and the courts became unusable.
Original 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 installation by pickleball.
“With this plan, we could only have done two pickleball courts. So we’re going to put our heart and soul into doing all six.”
The group overseeing the effort is the Fort Madison Pickleball Association. They will not apply for nonprofit status, but instead will work with the Fort Madison Beautification Foundation, which is a 501c3 nonprofit organization to channel donations and grants.
She said Keokuk and Mt. Pleasant both got $25,000 grants from the Iowa Economic Development Authority to build those pickleball facilities and that group will pursue that 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 receiving donations to help with the transition and checks can be sent to the Fort Madison Beautification Foundation with “PickleBall” written in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to Pickleball Association Treasurer Lynn Hoyer at 10 High Point in Fort Madison.
Anyone wanting more information or to help with the effort is encouraged to contact Brockman at 372-7502 or Amandus at 470-4881.
Key wordsFort Madison, Fundraising, new, Pen City Current, Pickleball, tennis court, Victory Park