Lindner

Steve Lindner

DEWITT — DeWitt city officials are eyeing another site for future pickleball courts in DeWitt, and this one is “exciting,” according to DeWitt City Administrator Steve Lindner.

The newest possible location is along Maynard Way between Kamper Korner and the Fieldstone of DeWitt senior living development. The property is currently owned by WellSpire, which manages Fieldstone.

Lindner said the city approached WellSpire officials about the possibility.

“We may be able to purchase an acre or two from them,” Lindner said. “We’re working on a partnership with them.”

Lindner brainstormed with WellSpire officials to come up with some ideas.

“They could build a clubhouse and we might have restrooms available to us,” Lindner said. “There are a lot of details but it’s kind of exciting to work (them) out.”

The city, along with the DeWitt Pickleball Committee, has spent the past handful of months searching for a location for pickleball courts in the city. Other locations analyzed included the lot directly north of the Sho-Manor Apartments on Humeston Road as well as spots in Westbrook Park.

However, the prospect of a public/private partnership and its location near the Paul Skeffington Memorial Trail system, a senior living complex, and easy access to city-provided utilities make the new property a good option, Lindner said.

“I’d like to keep moving on this property because I could see it working really nicely,” he said.

City officials – and members of the pickleball committee – hope for construction to begin as early as spring. However, that timeline could partially depend on what WellSpire’s proposal is, Lindner said.

“Getting this in place helps them with the rest of their development,” including future market-rate senior living apartments, according to Lindner.

“So this could be a nice amenity on site once (they) start building or selling those,” Lindner said, adding he shared the city’s desired timeline with WellSpire officials.

“We haven’t gotten anything further on that,” he said. “We’ll keep pushing on it.”

The idea of pickleball courts in DeWitt was originally spurred by a $20,000 grant by Bud Johnson of Monticello, a self-proclaimed pickleball enthusiast looking to help spread the sport’s popularity.

Johnson’s grant is contingent on buy-in by the city. Since then, the pickleball committee has raised money, and the city received a $25,000 Wellmark Foundation matching grant as well.

More grants could be coming as well.

The project is estimated to cost between $150,000 and $200,000, not including potential land acquisition.

Nick Joos is the DeWitt Observer’s news editor.

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