The Park Rapids City Council agreed Tuesday, March 23 to submit a grant application grant to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The application seeks the maximum amount of $250,000 from the Land and Water Conservation Outdoor Recreation program, to replace the city’s aging tennis courts at Depot Park.

The resolution states that the city “has the financial capability to meet the match requirement (if any) and ensure adequate construction, operation, maintenance and replacement of the proposed project for its design life.”

The council previously tabled approval of the grant submittal on March 9. According to city staff’s accompanying request for action, the finance committee recommended approval, with the city committing its entire park budget for 2021 and 2022 – totaling $60,000 – to pay the city match for the project if the grant is funded.

The total estimated cost for the project is $601,779, according to the staff request. This includes the demolition of the existing asphalt courts, correction of the underlying soil structure, replacement with seamless, post tension concrete and such finishing touches as fencing, nets and walking paths.

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“I couldn’t be more happy,” Park Rapids Tennis Association president Kathy Peterson said about the council’s approval after the meeting. She added that she feels the tennis association will “absolutely” be able to raise the remaining funds needed for the project if the grant is awarded, in addition to approximately $145,000 already pledged.

If they don’t get the grant, city engineer Jon Olson said, they will look at other options for scaled-down tennis court improvements.

“I think there are some great other options out there,” he said.

Peterson and Olson said the association hopes to be able to afford the post tension concrete option, because it will provide the longest-lasting playing surface for the community. “It would be there for generations,” Olson said.

If the funding falls in place, Olson said, construction on the courts could happen in 2022.

Acknowledging that many people think of tennis as an elite sport, Peterson stressed that the courts are open to the public and free for anybody to use who has a racket and a can of balls.

For more information or to pledge support for the project, call Peterson at 255-4098 or make out a check to the city of Park Rapids, earmarked for the tennis court construction project.

Beer coolers

In a late addition to their consent agenda, the council also approved a request from Rapids Spirits liquor store manager Scott Olson to purchase two free-standing Aurora double glass door refrigerators for $6,773 from Tweeton Refrigeration and accept Davis Electric’s proposal to run electrical power to the coolers on the sales floor for $1,050.

In his request for council action, Olson wrote that this will allow the store to make its six-pack beer section more appealing and add refrigerator space for craft beer crowlers (32-ounce containers) and premixed cocktails, “all growth segments for our store.”

Olson also noted that the purchase lies within the store’s $10,000 budget for capital outlay and was approved by the city’s finance committee.