ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) — The City of Athens will soon see some improvements to various parks after the council approved funding for several projects on Monday.
With the growth of pickleball in the community, the council approved the spending of $200,000 to convert two of the three tennis courts at Big Spring Memorial Park into pickleball courts.
News 19 spoke with Mayor Ronnie Marks about the project. He said by converting the courts, they will likely be able to fit “six or seven” pickleball courts.
The $200,000 may seem like a high price tag, but the Mayor said the process isn’t cheap. “We need to resurface that whole area, seal the cracks, and then change the netting” he said.
It’s a project that he said the community will benefit from. Mayor Marks said the local pickleball club has nearly 400 members.
That project is being paid for using CARES Act funding.
If folks in the community do want to play tennis still, they can always head over to the Sportsplex. It has several well-maintained tennis courts.
Speaking of the Sportsplex, it is getting some upgrades also. The city council approved spending $350,000 to add more parking.
“We have a critical need,” the Mayor said about the parking at the complex. “People are jumping the curbs, parking wherever they can park during their kids and grandchildren’s ball games, so this will give us about 200 additional parking spaces.”
Mayor Marks said, “that was funded by a stream that we already set aside to upgrade the Sportsplex.” He added, that the funding came from a “2018 bond issue that we had allocated about $500,000 to parks and recreation.”
The Sportsplex will also get an “outdoor fitness park.” That will be funded by a Blue Cross and Blue Shield $50,000 grant that the city will match, according to the Mayor.
Across town, improvements will also be made at Robert Allen Tinnon Park off of 5th Avenue.
The council approved spending $300,000 on a new basketball area, practice field, sidewalks and paving improvements.
The Mayor said, “We have a critical need for practice fields, and some of the young people in that area have said ‘hey man, we don’t even have a place to come walk and shoot some basketball.'”
The improvements at Tinnon will be paid for using CARES Act funding.
Other projects approved for funding by the council at this week’s meeting can be found on the city’s Twitter page.