ESCONDIDO – The Escondido City Council met on Wednesday, April 7 and unanimously approved a motion to move forward with the installation of two futsal or “mini-pitch” courts in Washington Park.
The city is working with the U.S. Soccer Foundation in an effort to secure a grant through one of their funders. If/when the funding is secured, the city would convert two of the underutilized tennis courts into hard surface soccer arenas 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.
The city’s community services department put out a survey for Escondido residents in the surrounding area to make sure that the community would, in fact, support the effort.
According to Danielle Lopez, assistant director of community services, the city received 363 responses to the survey, with 95% of participants being in favor of the project.
The council received several public comments on the item, all in support of moving forward with the project.
“Adding these futsal courts would not only add something new and exciting for the community but also encourage activities for youth, adolescents and parents like me to get out of the house, get active and connect with the community at large,” said one Escondido resident.
All of the council members were also in favor of moving forward with the project, with each of them expressing their excitement for what these courts will mean to the community.
“Having been on the community services commission for many years and to hear about these desires and these plans and to now see them happening is absolutely exciting,” Councilman Joe Garcia said. “Anything we can do for our youth to encourage them and to help them and keep them healthy is great.”
All costs associated with the construction of this project would be funded through the grant with no impact to the General Fund, according to the staff report.
Once the funding is secured, it would cover the surfacing, goals, lighting and anything else needed to convert the courts.
“The popularity of soccer continues to grow in Escondido and the United States. Soccer is a sport that appeals to a cross-section of people, the rich and poor, men and women, and the young and old. We have heard the requests and seen the need for more spaces that can accommodate pickup games and family recreational play,” the staff report said.
The council also approved an employment agreement between the city and Sean McGlynn confirming that he will serve as the new city manager, replacing former city manager Jeffrey Epp.