September 24, 2013


Advocates for development of a two-court basketball complex at the former tennis courts in Graham Park Monday night presented a preliminary plan for a $95,250 project.

The former tennis courts, still fenced in and located on the west side of the park, became obsolete when a new six-court tennis complex opened in late 2012.

"It's re-using and repurposing an existing facility that's here in Carroll," Dr. Brian Fleshner, a Carroll dentist, said in a presentation to the Carroll City Council.

Fleshner said the two regulation-sized courts would bring new amenities to Carroll. Current outdoor basketball courts are not official, he noted, adding that the courts at Northwest Park, Rolling Hills Park, Thomas Park, Minchen Park, Northeast Park, Maple Park, Third Street Park, Southside Park and Veterans Memorial Park are too small for robust five-on-five play.

What's more. Fleshner said, the Recreation Center gymnasium is often congested with adult basketball players often competing for space with young kids.

"The kids get pushed off to the side," Fleshner said. "It gets kind of dangerous."

The centrally located, regulation courts would reduce Rec Center basketball traffic in most months of the year, advocates said.

Sean Haluska, a commercial and agricultural loan officer at Carroll County State Bank, helped make the case for the basketball project.

Haluska, a Carroll High School hoops standout who went on to play for Iowa State University, said the courts could be retrofitted with a 2-1/2 inch asphalt overlay, as well as court resurfacing and painting.

Fleshner and Haluska were joined by local basketball advocates Pat Macke, Austin Scott and Clay Netusil.

Netusil, chairman of the city's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Advisory Board, said that panel has discussed the basket/9ball addition idea and is in full support of the concept.

Members of the basketball group ­- responding to a question from Councilwoman Carolyn Siemann - said they believe they could raise 15 percent of the funds for the courts. The group also would seek outside grants.

"We just want to get the project done and completed," Haluska said.

He asked the council to consider the proposal in an upcoming strategic-planning session and aim for 2014 construction.

Macke said the basketball complex could draw tournaments from the region, boosting economic development in Carroll.

Elected officials said they will review the plan as part of a broader consideration of city projects and finances.

"I do think it's a really good idea to do something there," said Councilman Jeff Scharfenkamp.