Council approves Generations grant for pickleball court

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – The Generations inter-generational center will add an outdoor pickleball court next year – with a little help from the city.

The City Council Tuesday approved a $10,000 grant to the Plymouth Intergenerational Coalition from the Senior Fund.

The money, from designated funds donated to and raised by the senior center over the years, will help offset the $33,183 cost of building the court for the popular game that’s a hybrid of tennis and ping pong.

Alderman David Williams, chair of the Committee on Aging and the council’s representative to the PIC board, told his colleagues that the COA had recommended approval of the grant.

“I think that it meets the criteria we have established (for the fund), that of being a primary project for the benefit of the senior citizens of Plymouth,” Williams said of the grant request.

He noted that the $10,000 amount is the maximum allowed under the city’s policy.

The coalition has received two donations totaling $21,000 toward the court.

“They have some skin in the game with the $21,000 in donated funds plus considerable volunteer help,” to build the court, Williams commented.

PIC will build the court in 2016 and will receive the grant to reimburse its costs after the work is completed, Williams explained.

“Pickleball is one of those activities that have been sweeping the nation in a very amazing way,” Fred Brown, fitness coordinator at Generations, told the council. “It is growing in popularity with seniors and adults alike.”

Generations has been utilizing a temporary indoor court for the game up to this point, according to Brown.

He added that, because the game can be played by all ages, it fits with the center’s inter-generational goals.

“We have an 87-year-old woman who plays with us in our league,” Brown related. “The children from 4-K and the upper level of the day care come down and play with us.”

Williams said there are pickleball courts in Sheboygan and Sheboygan Falls locally, and that Generations may look to host tournaments at the new court when it is built.

“I’ve been told by the director (of the Plymouth Adult Community Center) that this month three people joined the center just to play pickleball,” Williams noted.

The council directed City Administrator/Utilities Manager Brian Yerges to proceed on working to extend Plymouth Utilities’ contract to purchase electricity from WPPI.

Yerges explained that WPPI is seeking longer commitments from its municipal utility members – mostly in Wisconsin – in order to make financing for expansion of electrical generating and purchasing ef- forts more affordable.

“In order to finance long-term assets with 20- or 30-year bonds, they need to document commitments with existing communities that have agreed to be part of WPPI at least through the term of the bonds,” Yerges said.

Plymouth Utilities already has a contract with WPPI as their sole provider of electricity through the end of 2037. The requested extension would put that through the end of 2055.

“Either we believe in joint action agencies or not,” Yerges told the council. “I can’t sit here and tell you that WPPI will still be the lowest cost provider of electricity in 2038, nobody can. But I can tell you we get a lot of support (from WPPI) and we’ve had manageable (electric cost) increases over the years. I can’t think of a reason not to continue that relationship.”

The terms of the extension are still being negotiated by city and WPPI staff. The final agreement should be ready for council action by their second meeting in November, Yerges said.

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