US Soccer Foundation wish to have four futsal courts at St. Paul schools, Parks and Rec sites

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Tennis, basketball or futsal?

The U.S. Soccer Foundation has approached St. Paul Parks and Recreation about the possibility of converting underused outdoor spaces in the city into mini-courts for futsal.

According to Frederick Melo reporter at St. Paul Pioneer Press the Soccer Foundation has been turned down twice already by Johnson and Highland high schools but is hoping to make better progress with this approach.

The foundation expects to receive funding from Target to install a futsal court at Hamline Park near Snelling and LaFond avenues, where it would replace a singles tennis court.

Soccer Foundation wish to have four futsal courts at St. Paul schools, Parks and Rec sites

Hamline Park

Another futsal court at St. Clair Park off Oneida Street would replace an outdoor basketball court. At that location, a spokesperson for the foundation said they are still reaching out to potential funders, including Major League Soccer.

Soccer Foundation wish to have four futsal courts at St. Paul schools, Parks and Rec sites

Proposed site on St. Clair at the West 7th Community Center Park would be the basketball court next to the tennis courts. Currently this basketball court has no backboards or rims & gets more use by graffiti artists than anything else.

In both cases, the courts would take the place of worn outdoor facilities that draw limited use.

“It’s early, so our next steps are to work with the U.S. Soccer Foundation to do community engagement and receive input from the surrounding neighborhood on their thoughts,” said Clare Cloyd, a spokeswoman for Parks and Rec.

SCHOOL DISTRICT LOOKED AT TWO SITES

Laura Ranum, the athletic department specialist with the St. Paul Public Schools, said in an email that after the soccer foundation inquired about using outdoor space in the fall and the spring, the school district considered the possibilities at Johnson High School and Highland Park High School.

The foundation also asked for access to indoor space during inclement weather, but given existing programs, “that was not an option for either Highland or Johnson.”

In addition, said Ranum, Highland currently uses its tennis courts, “so that was not a viable site.” There have been no further discussions about alternative locations, she said.

A $60,000 DONATION

Each futsal court would represent a donation of roughly $60,000 in installation costs, and the foundation is willing to work with local partners to provide free futsal programs. Nevertheless, “upkeep would be required from our end,” Cloyd said.

Jonathan Oppenheimer, an organizer with Friends of Hamline Park, said he’s supportive of the proposal, in part because Parks and Rec — which maintains a considerable maintenance backlog — appears to be in no rush to improve underused tennis courts.

“They seem to be pretty clear: ‘You’re never going to get your tennis court repaved.’ We know that tennis court doesn’t get a ton of use,” Oppenheimer said. “Soccer is so big these days.”

The Parks and Rec systems plan recommends phasing out singles tennis courts while installing dual tennis courts at high-use locations.

The neighboring playground at Hamline Park would be unaffected.

“It doesn’t change where we are in line to get our playground replaced or anything,” he said. “It’s using the existing tennis court.”

Source of news: MSN

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