CARTHAGE, Ill. -- The Carthage Park District plans improvements to the tennis courts and ball diamond at the Joe and Helen Grate Sports Complex.
But the district needs community support to help pay for the projects.
"No matter your age, there's something there for you as far as tennis, pickleball, basketball, coming to watch the kids or grandkids play," said Chris Talley, vice president of the park district's board who serves on a committee working on the improvements. "We want to make sure we're doing our best to keep it up to the standards and live up to the expectations of the community and what the community wants in those facilities."
Plans call for resurfacing the existing tennis courts in the spring and converting one into two pickleball courts, refurbishing the basketball court and adding much-needed parking.
The phase one project is expected to cost around $70,000, Talley said.
"So far we've received $15,000 of grants, and we have probably in the neighborhood of $20,000 in private donations," he said. "It's coming along good, but we've got a ways to go."
The new courts will be dedicated to the memory of Jerry Logan, a long-time coach and Carthage supporter who died in May.
"Girls basketball was his big thing. A lot of girls out there think the world of him and credit him for a lot of their successes and building a successful girls program over the years," Talley said. "For the fundamentals and character he instilled in those girls, a lot of people really want to remember him."
A second phase to the project targets the park's ball diamonds and upgrades to the electrical service including new lighting controls.
"We have a small field that needs to be rebuilt and improved," Talley said. "What we want to do is turn that field so home plate is closer to the concessions and more centrally located. We want to try to improve that so that it's a better facility and able to handle those extreme weather conditions we seem to get."
With in-kind donations and community labor, "we're looking at probably $10,000 for the electrical upgrade and another $10,000 for the ball diamond rebuild," Talley said. "We want to get the park back up to where the community needs it and where it should be to support activities that happen out there."
A dinner and trivia night fundraiser for the project will be held Saturday, Jan. 25 at Lake Hill Winery. Happy hour begins at 5 p.m. following by the dinner, live auction and trivia at 6 p.m. Trivia topics including sports, history, music and movies all will feature a local "twist."
Work on the tennis courts will be done in the spring, and depending on fundraising, the ball diamond also could be "available this summer for the kids to use," Talley said. "It's a doable thing. It just takes some effort and the right people driving it. We're doing our best to make it happen."
How to Help
º Buy a ticket to attend the Dinner and Trivia Night fundraiser on Saturday, Jan. 25 at Lake Hill Winery. Tickets, at $30 each, are available at Carthage Family Fitness, from Jan White and Chris Talley and by calling 217-357-2739.
º Donate online via GoFundMe at gf.me/u/w45849
º Donate directly to the park by sending donations to Carthage Park District, 103 Randolph St., Carthage, IL 62321.
º Volunteer time and talents on the project.
More information is available online at carthageparkdistrict.org or by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org.