The town of Morris is now home to new multi-sport courts that can accommodate basketball, tennis and the ever-popular pickleball.
Susan Chartier, chair of the project committee, says the courts were envisioned during the COVID pandemic as a means of supporting mental health through outdoor activities.
"We saw what different places and spaces in our province are doing with courts - pickleball has been a takeoff sport and continues to grow - are being incorporated into tennis courts. So that's where the idea stemmed from. So how is it going to benefit our community? Well, it is on school property, so when we thought about refurbishing an old court, which is now going to be a parking lot for the new courts that are up there, we just saw this as a win-win."
The sod was turned for the courts in June. By July all the needed funds had been raised.
Chartier sees the three-year project a total community effort.
"We're very grateful to everyone who has donated, for the grants that we got, the help of volunteerism and people that embraced all our fundraising efforts that made them so successful [whether] that's buying a ticket for something or a cookie. Sometimes you go - oh, I wish the amount would be more. We soon came to realize that every dollar counts, and it grows fast from that. We're extremely grateful to our community, to businesses, and the surrounding that have embraced this project and have fully funded it."
With start of construction delayed by nearly three weeks, the grand opening has been pushed back as well.
"Unfortunately, we were hoping to have our ribbon cutting and some other events that we had planned to do to kick this thing off this fall and it never happened," said Chartier. "What we're going to do in early spring is complete this drainage that the town of Morris is going to work on for us. We need to do some landscaping and there's some court enhancements. We felt like, well, we're just going to wait. We want everything to be complete and it's done and it's finished. We'll look to finishing off in early spring of 2024."
The new courts, located at Morris School, will benefit students and the community-at-large outside of school hours.
~With files from Candace Derksen~
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