MANCHESTER, Iowa -- Manchester has received a $20,000 grant to partially fund the addition of pickleball courts to Tirrell Park.

The grant is from Robert “Bud” and Georgia Johnson, of Monticello. They own MinnTex Citrus in Monticello, which provides fresh fruit, along with cheese and sausage, to fundraising groups.

The Johnsons winter in Arizona, where Bud was introduced to pickleball while visiting friends three years ago. Since then, Johnson says he plays at least once a day.

“It’s a sport you can play with minimal athletic ability,” he said. “In pickleball, you are moving all the time. You can make it as hard or as easy as you want and still have fun. It’s the fastest-growing game in the United States.”

The donation to Manchester will serve as a pilot program as Johnson would like to assist other Iowa communities to build pickleball courts. The grant requirements are that communities come up with a 1:1 match of funds necessary to construct the court.

Manchester Parks and Recreation Director Doug Foley said the city will build the courts at Tirrill Park and cited a need to update the existing tennis courts at the park.

“With the grant, we can turn our two tennis courts into two pickleball courts and one tennis court, along with redoing the fencing and the lighting,” he said.

Foley said he expects work on the courts to begin in late August after the swimming pool season ends.

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