Parks Foundation Receives AARP Grant

-Michael Greenwald/Radio Keokuk

The Keokuk Parks Foundation was presented with their AARP Community Challenge Grant check on Tuesday at a special event held by the city at the site of the future pickleball courts.

The check is for $3,000 to be put towards converting the existing tennis courts.

Brad Anderson, State Director for AARP in Iowa, spoke very highly of the work done by the Keokuk Parks Foundation.

“I cannot commend you enough, the Parks Foundation, the council and the mayor for having the vision to think this through and to come up with this idea and that’s why AARP loves this project so much,” Anderson said.

The hope is for the project to be done by the end of the year.

“We hopefully can schedule tournaments and things and help to bring more recognition to Keokuk and more people. And not only also benefit our own citizens,” Keokuk Parks Foundations Chairperson Karole Smith said. “We are also so pleased to be able to do something like this in one of our older districts. The people around here grew up playing tennis here and I think they became depressed because of the condition it was.”

A total of $1.3 million was awarded to fund the “quick action” projects throughout the United States.

Nearly 1,600 applications were received from both governments and non-profits with Keokuk being one of 129 to receive the grant.

Mayor Tom Richardson said the addition of the pickleball courts is great for the town.

“I think it is a really great thing for the community because it is another amenity you have to keep people here,” Richardson said. “It’s just another good building block for Keokuk to continue to make it attractive for people to live here.

Smith said the town of Keokuk has been behind them as well on this project.

“We have got such support of the citizens and the businesses and stuff to be doing something in our neighborhoods to try to help,” Smith said.

Other Iowa locations to receiving funding re the Avoca Public Library, which will create a musical park to serve as a public gathering place, Main Street Manning, which will fund decorative lighting along main street to increase safety and use of public space and Woodbine Main Street and they will create interpretive signs for buildings and pocket parks to share the history of the town.