WOOD RIVER - Wood River’s East End Park on 14th Street officially unveiled a new set of pickleball courts to the public with a ribbon-cutting ceremony late last month. Jason Woody, director of the Wood River Parks and Recreation Department, said this and other park upgrades have been in the works for about a year and a half.

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“For years, the Parks and Rec Board and us, we’ve been trying to figure out how to get some pickleball courts. It’s not really something we have in this immediate area … and I’m glad we were able to come up with this location,” Woody said, noting its proximity to highways 255 and 143.

Woody said the project was partially funded by the Parks and Recreation Department, as well as a Madison County Park Enhancement Program (PEP) grant of $28,000.

“I think people are pumped - I mean, we’ve already heard from a lot of people, there’s already been people playing on it,” he said. “I think once they know it’s actually here and open, there will be even more people here every day.”

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He said the Parks department has been trying to accomplish projects like this for “as little cost to taxpayers as possible,” and said he believes that’s “something we accomplish a lot around here.”

Other improvements are in store for the future, including a Wood River Recreation Center and new all-inclusive playground in Central Park, which Woody said are expected to be completed this year.

“A lot of exciting things [are] happening in the Park & Rec world here in Wood River, and we hope that we can continue to do projects all throughout our parks to improve them on a yearly basis,” he said.

The full ribbon-cutting video and interview with Woody can be watched at the top of this story or on Riverbender.com/video.

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