Phase II of Ahrens Park Improvements Underway; Phase III to Follow Later This Summer

Twenty-five-year-old Ahrens/Paschall Memorial Park is getting a Phase II facelift, this time for the tennis and basketball courts.    

In fall 2017, the Ahrens Park Foundation announced a $1 million multiphase, multiyear capital improvements project. Phase I, the largest of the projects, was completed in May 2018 with the installation of two new playgrounds considered “the biggest and best” made by Miracle Recreation Equipment Company. The $500,000-plus playground project included numerous accessibility features, as well as recycled rubber mulch for safety. 

This year the outdoor tennis and basketball courts are being resurfaced, with one of the tennis courts converted for pickleball which is growing in popularity. New tennis and pickleball nets and six Goalsetter® hoops have been added. The work is now completed and all of the courts are ready for use.

“It’s been 25 years since the original courts were installed, so it was time to make these additional improvements in areas of high public use,” said Julie Gosselink, assistant treasurer of the Ahrens Park Foundation and CEO of the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation (CDAF). 

“The Park Foundation and CDAF have committed funds to these continuous improvements. We are also grateful to the Poweshiek County Alliance and to Grinnell Rotary Club for their contributions in support of these projects.” 

“The updates and renovations that occurred will continue to serve the greater Grinnell community now and into the future. It is an honor to be a part of these projects to promote the importance of wellness to individuals and the community.” Said Chad Nath, president of the Ahrens Park Foundation.

Phase III of the capital improvements project will begin later this summer. “The final phase involves resurfacing of the main parking lot and Ahrens Family Center drive and parking area,” Gosselink said. “During the summer, at times of high use, the current entrance is a safety issue. It’s wonderful to see the park full and active but we recognize that we need to relieve the traffic congestion. Plans are in the works to develop a second exit from the main parking lot to help with the flow of traffic.”

Gifts and pledges to the Ahrens Park Improvement Fund for future projects can be mailed to the Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation at P.O. Box 344, Grinnell, IA 50112, or by calling (641)-236-5518. 

25 Years at Ahrens Park 

In 1994, Claude Ahrens donated more than $4 million dollars and 50 acres of land to build the Ahrens/Paschall Memorial Park and Ahrens Family Center, a tribute to his and Dolly’s late son, Paul, and Jim Paschall, a lifelong friend of Paul’s. Claude and Paul built Miracle Recreation into the world’s No. 1 manufacturer of playground equipment with 16 patents for the company that continues today in Monett, Mo.  

The Ahrens/Paschall Memorial Park is home to eight youth softball and baseball fields, two outdoor basketball courts, tennis court, pickleball courts, a sand volleyball court, three youth soccer fields, a golf driving range, several playground areas, three shelter houses, a sledding hill, community gardens, green spaces, and a 1.5 mile outdoor walking path. Also located at the park is the Ahrens Family Center, the Grinnell Athletic and Recreation Center, and the offices for the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation, Ahrens Park Foundation, Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation, and Imagine Grinnell. More information about the Ahrens family legacy and mission is available at ahrensfamilyfoundation.org.

Individuals out enjoying the new basketball courts
Another view of basketball courts
New tennis and pickleball courts
Another view of the tennis and pickleball courts

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