By Jake Mosbach firstname.lastname@example.org Sep 6, 2019
CLINTON — The Clinton Parks and Recreation Department is continuing to ensure that there are many options for Gateway-area residents to get outside and be active.
Perhaps the most visible of those in recent months has been the new Riverview Pickleball and Sand Volleyball Complex. Sitting south of the Riverview Swimming Pool in the city’s riverfront area, the complex features eight pickleball courts, with new sand volleyball courts on the site’s eastern end.
Pickleball has gained a massive following in recent years, warranting the project that officially was welcomed in late August with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
At the ribbon cutting, River Cities Pickleball member Jeff Keister was appreciative of the department’s commitment to continued recreational options while highlighting the vocal pickleball community that created the need for the new complex.
“This has been a long time coming,” Keister said at the Aug. 21 ceremony. “This is a game that anybody who plays loves it. It’s a great sport, but what’s more important for me is the people who play it. The socializing we do as a group…it’s just great.”
The complex, along with several other initiatives, is part of the department’s recent master plan process. The plan has gathered the voices and suggestions of area residents regarding what they’d like to see as far as recreational options.
The plan, according to department director Josh Eggers, has been crucial in shaping the future of the city’s parks and recreation features.
“Specifically, (the master plan) identified taking care of existing facilities and creating more outdoor opportunities (as a need), and that’s what we’ve done here,” Eggers said.
Another key development in the department’s landscape is the completion of the Jurgensen Sports Park and Soccer Complex. The heavily used recreational park sitting behind Home Depot, north of 27th Avenue and east of Harrison Drive, has been renovated in recent years to make it more handicap accessible, as well as create a more universally practical layout.
The complex in the past has featured a three-tiered layout, with officials stating that the renovation aimed to flatten out the park to accommodate more visitors and people with disabilities. The project also allows for the creation and utilization of more athletic fields on the property, which allows the Parks and Recreation Department to streamline all levels of youth soccer into the facility.
The total cost for the project was calculated in the early stages at roughly $425,000, with funding for the initiative coming heavily from Clinton County Development Association grants and 2016 bonding.
When the project was announced, Eggers stated his excitement to be able to offer a better product when it comes to soccer in Clinton.
“This is a real opportunity for Clinton,” Eggers said regarding the Jurgensen project at a previous Clinton City Council meeting. “I’ve personally been a part of this soccer field since 1999 and it’s not had the attention that it needs. It’s never had the opportunity to shine. This is our biggest youth sports program that we have. In soccer alone, we’re pushing about 1,000 kids per year, just in soccer alone.”
Though not part of the Parks and Recreation Department specifically, yet another recreational option has gotten its wheels turning in the past year – literally.
A Clinton Convention and Visitor’s Bureau initiative has seen the implementation of a public bicycle-sharing program with several stations located around Clinton, as well as two in Camanche, according to CVB director Mary Seely.
Officials partnered with Cygnet Bike Share to start and expand the program, and the past year has seen hard work pay off. With 26 bikes now a part of the program, and anywhere from eight to 12 uses per day, Seely recently said that the program has been a major hit.
“I’m so proud of this program, but I’m also proud of this community for embracing new ideas when it comes to things like this,” Seely said. “We’re seeing rentals daily. Last year was our pilot year, so this year we’ve been able to grow and expand it. This has been an absolute success.”