Council Approves Funding for Pickleball Courts

photo credit: Darryl Kenyon PB120168 via photopin (license)

With the approval of a $20,000 funding request by the city council, the Keokuk Parks Foundation may finally have the necessary funding for its new pickleball courts.

Karole Smith presented for the foundation and said this request should cover the remaining costs for the project.

“When we turn this over once we get our total funding, hopefully with your help, we will be where we go back on March 13th and meet with them and explain how we’re trying to fill in the gap, and hopefully we can we have it filled and we’re moving forward,” Smith said.

The first estimate for the project came in at $111,370 and the foundation had a total of $75,218 with another 15% potentially coming from a CAT grant out of Des Moines.

Originally, the group thought the grant would cover all of the remaining costs, but when they went to Des Moines last week they discovered it would only fund between 15-18% of the total cost.

They will be going back to talk with the grant presenters in two weeks.

“We feel blessed that they are considering us,” Smith said.

Smith went on to say the courts will be good for the city and help bring people to town.

“That’s the essential thing, getting the tourism, getting people involved in this is to attract people from all over the area,” Smith said.

Several council members were almost immediately in support of the funding request.

John Helenthal said the current tennis courts are in his neighborhood and he would like to see them changed into something that can be used on a regular basis.

“I think this is an incredible asset to the community,” Mike O’Connor said.

City staff members who are involved with the project were also in support of the council approving the funding.

“I think it would really go a long ways if they went back to that March meeting and said, ‘hey, we’re 85% funded,'” Public Works Director Mark Bousselot said.

City Administrator Cole O’Donnell said that with CAT grants the normal timetable for work to be put in is about one to two years.

Once the funding is completely guaranteed, bids will go out for the project and they could even come in under the original estimate.

“When I get budgetary numbers, I usually tell them it’s a budgetary number because I don’t want a contractor to give me their low dollar bid,” Bousellot said.

If the bids were to come back over the original budget, Smith said they would reach out to the local communities and organizations for additional funding help.

They did this earlier in the fundraising efforts, but things could be very different this time.

“I think if we were closer and we reached out again they would see, you know, that it’s a reality and be more likely to help,” Smith said.