Council approves funds for improving Ottumwa’s tennis courts

Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 8:35 PM CST
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OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) - Ottumwa’s tennis courts are in rough shape. That’s according to Mark Hanson, principal and four-year tennis coach for the Ottumwa High School. Hanson, along with a delegation from Ottumwa Schools and the Friends of Ottumwa Parks, brought the topic before the Ottumwa City Council, seeking funding.

They showed the council pictures of the courts, pointing out numerous rust spots and cracks filled with pine straw and dirt.

It’s gotten so bad, Ottumwa high school is hosting tennis meets at the Ottumwa Country Club, and their invitational at Fairfield Middle School.

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

The project is predicted 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 or so coming from grants and fundraising. That’s where Friends of Ottumwa Parks comes in, who will be working to get those funds.

Bob Kramer with Friends of Ottumwa Parks says getting these courts fixed is a quality of life issue. He says parks are a big draw for those out of town. “It’s the number one thing people come to Ottumwa to do...enjoy our parks.”

The money for the City would either comes from American Rescue Plan funds or bonding.

The matter was took to a vote - and passed, 4 to 1. The lone no vote came from Doug McAntire. He wasn’t against the idea, but wanted to table it for once the new council has more experience.

“I think it’s only fair as a council to learn a little bit more about our job before we vote on something that’s three quarters of a million dollars.”

Friends of Ottumwa Parks are hopeful to start construction in the fall.

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