City Council Approves Water Line To Pickleball Court Approved After Intense Discussion

The ongoing tension between the Glenwood City Council and Southwest Iowa Pickleball Club (SWIPBC) came to a head last Tuesday after the city was asked to approve installation of a water supply line to the city-owned pickleball court complex on South Vine Street.

The request was made on behalf of the pickleball club by Glenwood Park Board Chair Randy Romens.  By the end of the night, the council reluctantly gave its approval for installation of the water line, but not until after some intense discussion.

For several months, the pickleball club had expressed a need and desire to get a water supply line and hydrant to the facility to allow for the courts to be washed and cleaned on a regular basis.  The project was initially estimated to carry a price tag of $8,000 - $10,000, however after TAB Construction Co. offered to provide the installation work, the estimated costs came down to $2,535.79.  After TAB made its offer, the Glenwood Park Board moved forward with approving installation of the water line, however the city council would need to sign off on the project.

Glenwood Park Superintendent Ron Mattox attended the city council’s Nov. 28 meeting and shared a request from the Glenwood Park Board that the estimated costs for the project be paid for out of its recreation building / grounds fund line item. However, council members declined to give their approval that night, stating the city has other recreation projects higher on its priority list.

After being turned away by the city, the pickleball club approached the Mills County Board of Supervisors about the situation to see if county funds could be used to complete the project.

“TAB Construction stepped up but the city council turned us down for the $2,500 – that’s turning down $6,000 or $7,000 of free work,” SWIPBC spokesperson Jacque Young said. “I went to the supervisors, Lonnie Mayberry, and just told them our story.

“I told them we really need this. This is probably something we should have done initially. We just didn’t have the funding.”

After hearing SWIPBC’s request, the supervisors voted 2-1 in favor of covering the installation costs with Local Option Sales Tax dollars earmarked for recreation projects. Supervisors Mayberry and Carol Vinton voted “yes” with Richard Crouch casting the “no” vote.

With all funding now in place, Romens  came back to the city council last week to get their approval for installation of the waterline, which was still needed because the line would be on city-owned property.

“There is a need for maintenance of the pickleball courts if we want to have them 12-15 years instead of 8-12 years,” Romens said. “This is a good, long-term investment with very little investment by the city.”

City council member Holly Jackson said she had concerns with the manner in which the county funds were secured after the city council initially declined to approve the project.

Jackson said because the city owns the property, city officials should have been involved in the county board’s discussions about funding the project.

Jackson asked, “Is the county agreeing to maintenance (of the water line)?”

After it appeared council members were reluctant to approve the project, Romens approached the podium again and voiced frustration with the perceived lack of support the city council has shown the pickleball club and the courts, suggesting personality conflicts have played a role in past council decisions regarding club requests.

“There are people with passion that would like to see things move forward,” Romens said. “But, when one certain group of people (pickleball club) asks for something, it gets shot down.

“It’s a water line, for goodness sake!”

After Romens’ statement, council member Laurie Smithers conceded the relationship between the city council and pickleball club has been less than cordial.

“You’re right, there is something that has happened with the pickleball club,” she said. “Why can’t we work together?”

Smithers and other council members have expressed the desire to have discussions take place for creation of a formal users agreement regarding the courts, with input from both the city and pickleball club.

Jackson said despite her concerns expressed about the manner in which the county funds were secured, she is appreciative of the passion and fundraising efforts of pickleball club members.

After the discussion, council member Jeremy Rodman made a motion to approve the water line installation. The motion passed 5-0.

Young said the plan now is to purchase a water broom for cleaning the courts  that can be hooked up to the water line.

“We can’t use a pressure washer on the courts. It’s too strong,” she said.  “It’s about 3-foot wide. It sprays and just kind of gets off all the dust and bird droppings, all that kind of stuff.

“The city offered to buy it because they thought they could use it where they have all the picnic tables. We may end up buying one on our own, just to have it in our shed for when we’ll need it. We never know when we’re going to need it.”

Young said pickleball club members have been transporting buckets of water to the courts for clean-up purposes.

“Basically, now, we just go down with 5-gallon buckets of water, a broom and towels and mop up any mud or anything else we have to get off,” she said.

Young said pickleball club members don’t want to be in conflict with city officials, but they want the courts to be maintained in the best way possible.

“We don’t want to create any more problems with the city council. We just want to get things done, but it’s like they’re against anything that would be helpful,” she said.

“We’re just trying to keep those courts in better shape so we won’t have to resurface them in 8-10 years. We can extend them to 12-15 years if we take care of them.”


The Opinion-Tribune

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