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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Pickleball project needs additional funding

David Colburn
Posted 6/13/24

COOK- The Cook City Council heard a progress report on the pickleball court project being pursued by Friends of the Parks at its May 30 meeting, but a subsequent error in another newspaper report of …

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Pickleball project needs additional funding


COOK- The Cook City Council heard a progress report on the pickleball court project being pursued by Friends of the Parks at its May 30 meeting, but a subsequent error in another newspaper report of the meeting has muddied the waters around where fundraising stands for the $110,000 project.
Last September, based on community interest, Friends of the Parks was authorized by the council to proceed with a project of transforming the ice rink at the community center into a dual purpose facility serving both pickleball players and skaters. The cracked asphalt surface of the rink would need to be replaced and striped for pickleball courts. A courtesy eyeball estimate by an area contractor at the time estimated the possible cost of replacing the asphalt with a concrete slab and other associated costs could run as much as $120,000. At the October council meeting, Friends of the Parks talked about cheaper asphalt resurfacing options, the least expensive of which could possibly be done for around $30,000, but would likely re-crack sooner than a more extensive and expensive overlay. Asphalt was discussed as being softer and easier on a player’s joints than an concrete slab.
In the May 30 update, FOTP representative Jeanie Taylor told the council they were anticipating a cost closer to the original September estimate.
“We’ve been busy fundraising and working on the ice rink pickleball project, and we’ve received some suggestions on the best way to proceed,” she said. “With any project, it kind of snowballs and gets a little bit more complicated, and with that gets more expensive. We’re probably at an estimate of about $110,000 if we do it the right way, so it might need to be done in phases.”
“It depends on how successful we are in fundraising and sources of funds,” she continued. “Any help that we can get we appreciate it. So far we’ve applied for and received a $20,000 IRRR grant, we’ve implemented three raffles and will have a number of more raffles (including the raffle connected with the Wings and Things event on July 27 at the Cook VFW). We mailed out a bunch of letters asking for financial support to businesses and organizations in December, and just last month we sent out about a thousand letters to different residents and we’ve gotten quite a few back on that. We’ve also applied for a couple of other grants.”
Taylor did not comment on the amount of money FOTP has raised to date.
Fundraising confusion
On Thursday, June 6, FOTP posted the following note to their Facebook page:
“Clarification to a recent news article – Friends of the Parks received a $20,000 IRRR grant. Projected cost of skating rink and pickleball courts is $110,000. We have received donations and are raising fund but are still a ways from our goal.”
In a conversation with the Timberjay on Saturday, Taylor confirmed that the Cook News Herald inadvertently reported that FOTP had received a $110,000 grant from the IRRR instead of the $20,000 they were awarded. Tayor expressed concern that the error could compromise their fundraising efforts, as people might believe they had all the funds they needed, which is not the case.
During the May 30 meeting, Taylor told the council that some grants FOTP might apply for were only available to local governments and not nonprofits, and asked the city to consider partnering with them on any such future grant possibilities.
She also noted that the $20,000 grant from the IRRR has to be used within nine months, a reason for indicating that the project may have to be done in stages rather than all at once.
“We can’t just put it all off until next year, we have to start with it,” she said. “But we’re just going to keep progressing with it and see what happens in the fall.”
In other business, the council:
• Gave its approval for use of the Cook Community Center for the Virgie Hegg Hospice Partners 5K Walk/Run on June 7.
• Approved invoices from JPJ Engineering for $3,681 for the North River Street Drainage Improvement project and from SEH for $32,850 for activities related to replacement of the AWOS weather system at the airport.
• Heard reports on the success of the citywide cleanup day and the lack of success in gaining voluntary compliance with blight notifications.
• Received $5,258 in donations, including $1,938 from the Arrowhead Library System, $500 from Owens Township for the community center, and $800 from Field Township for the library book fund.