The City of Dallas Center hosted a ribbon cutting for its new tennis court on Wednesday, July 24. Located at Mound Park, the court is currently open to the public free of charge and is also designed for both pickleball and dodgeball games.

“According to the centennial history book of Dallas Center, the courts were new 50 years ago,” Dallas Center Parks and Recreation Board Member Mary Werch said. “Several years ago, it was looked at to ‘fix’ the old courts by resurfacing but when the experts looked at them, it was deemed in too bad of condition to repair.”

Dallas Center first worked with the Iowa State University Community Design Lab to develop a long-range master plan for the city’s green space and parks. City residents were interviewed as part of this study and it was determined that replacing the old tennis court was one of the highest priorities for community members.

“The old tennis court had developed some serious holes and cracks. In addition, the city enjoys its annual dodgeball tournament during Fall Festival and people always had to ‘dodge’ the permanent tennis poles and surface holes,” Dallas Center Parks and Recreation Board Member Bob King said.

Iowa State University also suggested that the city add the ability to play pickleball on the new court along with a set of backboards that both tennis and pickleball players could practice against.

“Even before all the fencing was replaced, people were using the courts. With the changing of times and activities, it was decided to mark the courts for both tennis and pickleball,” Werch said.

In order to build the new court, the Dallas Center Public Works Department first had to remove both the asphalt and a smaller concrete pad underneath. The city also needed to install stronger fence posts in order to be able to hold the backboards.

“The surface asphalt was cracking and developing holes where its base changed from cement to soil. We had to remove the cement court before we could start rebuilding. This slowed us down enough that we had to wait until this spring to finish the courts,” King said.

Going forward, the hope is that the new court will not only draw both youth and adults but also encourage people to participate in the park’s nearby amenities. The city also hopes that the new court will not only attract Dallas Center residents but also visitors from the Raccoon Valley Bike Trail.

“Most don’t know about the skating rink, our loaner skates, the 9-hole disc golf course, the sand volleyball courts, and now, a first rate tennis and pickleball court,” King said, “We hope we can attract more of our biking families to stop and enjoy the parks in our town. We especially hope that families will come to the skate rink and let the young children roller skate while the older people play some tennis or pickleball.”

The new court cost over $70,000 and was funded by a combination of a Prairie Meadows Grant, a Walmart contribution, Rotary funds, city budget funds and funds from the Burnett Charitable Trust. It is currently open from daylight to dusk, and those interested in using the court can check out certain equipment at the Dallas Center Library.