SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — An employer in Pipestone will help create pickleball courts and more in the community.

JBS will donate a total of $465,000 to the city of Pipestone for two projects. The largest chunk will be about $375,000 for a new concession stand, restrooms and common-use areas at the city’s and school district’s sports complex area which includes softball fields and soccer fields.

A JBS grant of $300,000 several years ago made the city’s soccer fields possible, said Robert Petersen, the recreation director for the city.

“It’s exciting,” Petersen said of the two new grants and opportunities with each.

“This is fantastic for the city of Pipestone,” Mayor Dan Delaney said. “This will allow us to provide amenities that people want and expect to have in a community.”

The $90,000 grant will be used to renovate the three tennis courts in the city’s Harmon Park. The park is near Minnesota Highway 23, Minnesota Highway 30 and U.S. Highway 75. The tennis courts can be turned into 10 pickleball courts.

A rendering of planned pickleball courts in Pipestone. City of Pipestone graphic.

“Since pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the country, the demand is there,” Petersen said.

Pipestone has indoor pickleball courts in its recreation center. “At the rec center we have people playing pickleball from 7:30 to 10:30 five days a week,” Petersen said. The courts are also busy on the weekends.

“It’s another option in the community for all of us to be active,” he said. He expects the courts will draw people from other towns as well.

The community will still have tennis courts because the Pipestone Area School District built new courts several years ago, he said.

The school district’s new tennis courts are near a sports complex that serves the city and the school district, Delaney said. It was recently named the JBS Sportsplex, local media reported.

The JBS Hometown Strong grant the city first received built the soccer fields in the joint sports area.

The grass turf was planted last year and the goal is start play in mid-summer, Delaney said.

“We have a large age range interested in soccer,” he said. “I only look for it to become more popular.”

A new concessions with restrooms area from the latest grant will also upgrade the sports complex area, Delaney said. The new area will also have room for food trucks.

The softball fields are already busy with weekend tournaments and Delaney and Petersen expect the soccer fields to have a similar busy schedule.

To Delaney, the addition of a concession stand, restrooms and soccer is part of improvements to the sports area.

The city wants to add lights to the soccer field. He’d like to add an outdoor skating rink to the area and use the new concessions building as a warming house.

A rendering of a new concessions and restroom building at a sports complex in Pipestone. City of Pipestone graphic.

The sports complex is operated and managed under a joint powers agreement between the city and the school district, Delaney said. It makes sense to share facilities and upkeep rather than having individual city and school sites for activities, he said.

The JBS grants also save taxpayers money, Petersen said. The city must still maintain the property, but it already does that, such as with the tennis courts.

Petersen said the improvements at the sports complex and Harmon Park are good for the community, but also for local businesses because they will draw out-of-town users.

The grants are part of the JBS Hometown Strong program. The Hometown Strong program was established to distribute $100 million to communities in which JBS or Pilgrim are located, according to the JBS website.

Petersen said the city gathered information for a grant application and learned earlier this week it had been approved.

“It took about a year,” he said of the process. “We were very fortunate to receive (the grants).

So far, about $7.9 million in grants have been distributed in Minnesota, according to JBS. The grants include the latest in Pipestone and $1 million for a new community center and field house in Worthington and projects in Cold Spring.

JBS has 112 employees or team members as it calls them, in Pipestone and about 2,000 in Worthington, according to its website.