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Carthage looks to renovate Grate Sports Complex

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A Hancock County, Illinois community is getting a face lift that could help the whole community.

Organizers said they're looking to resurface the courts at the Joe and Helen Grate Sports Complex to make room for two tennis courts, two pickle ball courts, a basketball court and more parking.

"Those are sports people can play their whole life long from very young to when you're old and you can still move around and want to stay physically fit," Carthage Park District Board Vice President Chris Talley said.

University of Illinois tennis pro Ross Smith says he's familiar with the tennis courts.

"I've been a Carthage resident all my life and I played on these courts with a bunch of these friends and old high school athletes and we've been talking about this for quite a while," he said.

Talley said it'll take roughly $70,000 to make the renovations happen.

He said they're well on their way, having already raised roughly $40,000 already thanks to community donation and grants but he said they're on a deadline.

"Within one year we need to have the project complete to recieve some of those grant funds," Talley said.

According to Smith, he's happy to see something being done and can't wait to help out.

"I'm looking to move back to the area soon and hopefully I can help out bringing this sport whether it's teaching lessons or doing camps like we've done in the past, hopefully I can just assist with that process," he said.

Talley said they'll name the renovated courts after Jerry Logan, a beloved local teacher and basketball coach who passed away this spring.

For those looking to contribute, Talley said you can purchase a ticket to their January 25th auction and dinner, purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win a 65' TV or buy a copy of Jerry Logan's memoirs.

He said you can also give via a GoFundMe or send money directly to the park district.

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Blake Sammann

Blake Sammann is a reporter and weekend anchor at WGEM News.

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