Metro-East News

East St. Louis refurbished some tennis courts. They want you to help pay the bill.

East St. Louis park district brings the tennis courts in Lincoln Park back to life.

Remodeled tennis courts in Lincoln Park are a draw for players in the East St. Louis park district. The next project will be to bring the pool in Lincoln Park back.
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Remodeled tennis courts in Lincoln Park are a draw for players in the East St. Louis park district. The next project will be to bring the pool in Lincoln Park back.

Unexpected costs of repairing the tennis courts in Lincoln Park have forced the park district to ask St. Clair County to foot nearly $20,000 in extra expenses, the park district executive director says.

“There were some things we did to make the tennis court more appealing, and I tell you what, that tennis court is beautiful,” said parks executive director Irma Golliday. “But our funds are quite low that we get and we can barely make it through the year.”

Storm damage to other city parks and added costs for repairing the previously unusable tennis courts depleted the district’s funds so much that “it really causes us some problems down the road,” Golliday said.

So the park district is asking the County Board for $19,785 to cover last-minute costs for lighting repairs, a handicap accessible ramp and a practice backboard.

Another expense that could spell trouble for the district’s finances is its summer camp, which provides two meals and daily activities to roughly 115 children in the East St. Louis area until school begins again in August. Despite the remaining tennis court bill, the district hired four camp supervisors and four camp counselors to ensure the camp could continue, Golliday said.

An $18,000 grant from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville helped pay for the first group of camp employees earlier this summer.

“We’re hoping the county approves this ($19,785) so we can put that money back,” Golliday said.

The County Board is expected to consider the measure at Monday’s meeting.

Here are the financial details of the tennis court repair project, which began in July last year:

  • Total estimated cost: $252,074 for three 36-by-78-foot tennis courts;

  • Total actual cost: $271,859;

  • Difference between estimated and actual cost: $19,785 for additional lighting;

  • Grant from the state of Illinois: $237,300;

  • Total amount to be paid by East St. Louis Park District: 10 percent of grant award, or $23,730.

The Missouri Valley Chapter of the U.S. Tennis Association will help in operating activities at the courts, the parks director said.

Kelsey Landis: 618-239-2110
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