Ottawa Recognizes Ed Taylor Family, State Basketball Champions Gifts

City commissioners have approved naming two of the new basketball courts in the Ottawa Teen Park for the 1971 and 2013 state basketball championship teams and a new pickleball court for the late John “Ed” Taylor, former county commissioner.

The Play Task Force requested the City Commission accept the recommendation to install six pickleball courts on the former skatepark pads east of the Don Woodward Community Center. Originally, the area was tennis courts, making the surface good for pickleball, too. Pickleball is a paddle sport that can be played with two to four players using solid paddles (similar to ping-pong paddles) and a perforated plastic ball (similar to wiffle ball) over a net. The proposal approved would be to install six courts, four bleachers and signage.

A $6,000 donation from the family of Taylor will cover the cost of the project, and the Play Task Force recommended naming the pickleball courts in his memory. “I was so very excited to enable outdoor pickleball in my dear husband’s honor,” Shirlene Taylor said. “He loved playing, and this was just the thing to honor his memory and public service.” The signage will recognize Taylor’s years of service.

During Monday’s City Commission Study Session meeting, Commissioner Blake Jorgensen said he believed the memorial to be very appropriate. In addition, Mayor Sara Caylor paid tribute to Taylor’s service to the community as well as that of his family. “This generous gift carries the name of a generous person and my friend, Ed Taylor,” she said. “I am excited to have a new amenity in the Woodward Center neighborhood.”

Caylor also had suggested fundraising efforts be considered around the men’s basketball champion teams and was excited to see that result in the naming of two courts in the Teen Park. “It is very appropriate to show today’s youth what youth in the past have accomplished and encourage their efforts to better their skills while having fun,” she said.

Fundraising is ongoing to add more basketball courts, one in Freedom Park and a half court in Walton Park. “Basketball can be one person shooting for fun or a sports competition, but having additional courts and goals around the community is a goal we are committed to meeting,” said Fonda Rose, Play Task Force chairperson.

The pickleball courts likely will be installed in the spring. In addition, it is anticipated signage would be placed designating each naming gift. If you are interested in knowing more about projects planned, how to make a donation or how to be involved, contact Wynndee Lee at 785-229-3620 or go to http://play.ottawaks.gov.