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Basketball project is welcome upgrade in H.C. Meriwether Park

New courts to debut later this summer

The basketball courts at H.C. Meriwether Park in Fort Dodge have long been some of the most popular ones in the city.

The courts have been the site of neighborhood pick-up games, contests held as part of the Juneteenth celebration that is now an annual tradition and the old Pleasant Valley Hoopla tournaments.

But all that action, combined with Iowa’s scorching summers and frigid winters, have had an impact on the courts. At minimum, they are no longer as smooth as one would want for a nice game of basketball.

That will change this summer. The courts will be ripped out and replaced with new ones in a $442,000 project approved by the City Council. As an added bonus, there will also be a drinking fountain installed near the courts.

The project will start as soon as weather will permit and be completed by July 31. So the courts will be off-limits during the first half of the summer, but after that they will be ready for fast-moving, high-flying basketball action.

This project is needed. Those basketball courts were going to pieces.

But the project is also another welcome investment turning the park in the Pleasant Valley neighborhood into an attractive place.

The change really began in 2018 when the park was renamed. It used to be called Mini Park, a name that was so generic as to be meaningless. The Pleasant Valley Awareness Committee led the way in changing the name to H.C. Meriwether Park. Meriwether was a prominent Black businessman who owned a restaurant in Pleasant Valley. Naming the park after him gave the park a local flavor that was missing.

The new courts will give the park a hot new basketball venue that was also needed. Get ready, basketball fans.

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