ESCONDIDO — The City of Escondido’s Community Services Department is attempting to secure grant funding to install two futsal courts, or Mini-Pitch Systems, in Washington Park. If successful, the project would convert two existing tennis courts into hard surface soccer arenas.
The city is working with the U.S. Soccer Foundation in an effort to secure a grant through one of their funders. If the funding is secured, the city would convert two of the underutilized tennis courts into futsal courts and leave the other two tennis courts as is.
The hours of play for the futsal courts would be similar to that of the tennis courts.
“We have a great partnership with the U.S. Soccer foundation and we have the support of the neighborhood, we’re just really in the beginning phases of exploring how to make this happen,” said Danielle Lopez, assistant director of community services.
The department recently put out a survey for Escondido residents in the surrounding area to make sure that the community would, in fact, support the effort.
As of Monday, the survey had 190 responses, with 94% of participants being in support of the project.
“Soccer is huge in Escondido,” Lopez said. “We have Ryan Park, but a lot of organized leagues utilize that space, so there isn’t a lot of space for people to just play pickup soccer in the community. We’ll still maintain the two tennis courts for those who like to play tennis there, but with the popularity of soccer, it would be nice to give kids a different opportunity there and to have another amenity in the park.”
The Community Services Department will also have to get the approval of the City Council to move forward with the project. Lopez said she is hoping they will get a date in front of the council sometime in late February or early March.
Councilwoman Consuelo Martinez, who brought the idea to Lopez, is a strong advocate for the project. Washington Park is located in District 1, the district Martinez represents.
“Recreation opportunities for youth have decreased since I’ve grown up in Escondido,” Martinez said. “The need for more recreation and opportunities is a frequent request that I hear from my constituents. Futsal courts are a creative way to use underutilized land, in this case, tennis courts. Soccer is a popular sport in our community, and I look forward to finding more recreational opportunities for youth and families in our city.”
Once the funding is secured, it would cover the surfacing, goals, lighting and anything else needed to convert the courts.
To fill out the survey, visit https://recreation.escondido.org/survey