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Tennis courts served a makeover

Jean Johnson, president of the Perham Rotary Club, led the way in revitalizing the tennis courts at Arvig Park. The courts were originally built by Rotary in 1978, in memory of Frank Adamczyk, an original Perham Rotary member who died in 1972. The work will be finished next spring. Elizabeth Huwe/FOCUS

Arvig Park, on the north side of Perham, is looking greener than usual, despite the falling leaves and sprinklings of snow.

Originally built in 1978 by the Perham Rotary Club, the park’s tennis courts were starting to look rough and show their age.

Now, the courts have a freshly patched, covered and painted surface as part of Jean Johnson’s Presidential Rotary project.

Yellow pickle-ball lines will be added to the court in the spring, along with a basketball hoop.

Johnson is serving her term as the president of the Perham Rotary Club after serving as the club’s secretary for five years.

“There’s no point in doing a project if it won’t be enjoyed,” said Johnson. “And there’s no point in tennis courts that can’t be used.”

Work on the courts started later than Johnson would have liked, since last winter stuck around for so long. Then, it was a question of finding contractors who could be scheduled to do the work.

For the most part, the project is now finished. The court surface is intact and painted for tennis and new nets will be ready for the spring.

Existing light fixtures will be replaced and two additional sets will be added around the perimeter of the court. Players can then control the lights so the courts can be used earlier in the morning and after dusk.

“The way they are now, the lights aren’t enough for people to play tennis at night,” said Johnson.

To make the courts more useful to everyone in Perham, plans have been made to also add pickle-ball lines and a basketball hoop. This work will also be done in the spring.

Each year on July 1, the Perham Rotary president and other club officers change. Then, the president is tasked with completing a project that will benefit the community.

Past Presidential Projects include Feed My Starving Children, the greenhouses at the high school, entrance signs to Perham and the new playground equipment at Arvig Park.

Johnson explained that some projects are “shared” by presidents over two years, but most are completed in one term.

While Johnson does not play tennis herself, she does enjoy watching tennis matches.

It’s fun to watch, there’s no fighting and it’s relatively easy to understand the rules, she said.

Johnson’s parents also frequently played tennis. Johnson recalled days when she and her sister, along with the babysitter, some toys and a picnic lunch, would get packed up and brought to the park. Her parents would play tennis while the babysitter supervised.

The City of Perham and Rotary District 5580 have helped to fund the project. The city’s Park Board contributed $10,000 to the overall project and the Rotary District added an additional $5,000 through a grant. Overall, the project will cost about $21,000.