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Tennis Courts, Swimming Pool, and Band Shell: Lions Club Makes Progress on Three Projects

First Bank of Montana-Choteau Vice President Karrie Crabtree and President Lyle Hodgskiss stand with Choteau Lions Club member Rich Clough last week at the site of the new permanent band shell being built this summer with a major $20,000 from the bank to start the project rolling. Acantha photo by Melody Martinsen

Back in 2017, the Choteau Lions Club launched a fundraising campaign through a hunting gun raffle in a bid to renovate the tennis courts situated across the street from the swimming pool. The initial target was to generate between $30,000 to $40,000 for the project, which was later revised upwards. With three more gun raffles in 2018, 2019, and 2021, the club managed to raise the required $40,000. Unfortunately, the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a delay in the renovation work due to rising costs.

In 1964, the federal government launched the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a grant program to “safeguard our natural areas, water resources and cultural heritage, and to provide recreation opportunities to all Americans”. The club was urged to consider applying for grants to fund the tennis courts, the swimming pool, and a band shell structure projects for the city park as part of a long-term strategy. This ambitious agenda was not without challenges, but with the city’s support and other community members’ help, the club submitted a grant application for the LWCF grant. The grant would cover 50% of the cost of each project, and the club would match the other 50%.

In January 2022, the club received notice that the grant funding was approved for the tennis court renovation and the swimming pool improvements, but the stage/bandshell project did not qualify for the grant. The matching grant funds for the pool and tennis courts would be available for three years. By March 2022, the club committed to completing all three projects.

The current status of each of the projects is as follows:

Swimming Pool

The club purchased and installed a new boiler heater at the start of the 2022 swimming season. The replacement of the pool filter system is currently under study and will be completed in the next two years while the funds are available.

Tennis Court Renovation

The project aims to pour a new concrete surface over the existing court, install two tennis courts with painted stripes for two pickleball courts, install four basketball backboards, and replace the fencing around the courts. Due to the estimated cost of this project and the fact that it is on city-owned property, the bids will be solicited for this project. Final construction plans and specifications are projected to be completed by the end of February, and advertisements for bids will be made available at that time. The club aims to complete the tennis court renovation by summer. Funds from the 50% grant, along with club fundraising and private donations, are available to complete this project.

Stage/Band Shell

Unfortunately, the band shell project was not able to be included in the LWCF grant, but several Lions and other interested community members worked with the city on a plan and location near the Choteau Pavilion and Community Center in Choteau City Park. The club has received substantial private donations and financial commitments, which are helping to cover the project’s cost. The concrete stage was completed last fall, and the timber framework is currently being worked on. The band shell is expected to be ready for use this summer.

If you’re interested in supporting the Choteau Lions Club’s efforts to improve community recreational facilities, you can donate to the Choteau Lions Club Foundation , a 501(c)3 charity. Your donation will go towards helping the club complete their projects and make a positive impact in the local area. Every little bit helps, and the Choteau Lions Club appreciates the ongoing support of the community