New ‘futsal’ courts are installed at West End Park

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TIMES-REPUBLICAN

Recent weather conditions are not ideal for soccer, or most outdoor recreational activities.

But when they are, Parks and Recreation Director Anne Selness and staff will be anxious to see how area futsal/soccer players respond to the recent installation of the new “Sport Court” re-surfacing and other improvements at West End Park.

The new surface was placed over worn-out tennis courts.

“Futsal is a form of soccer played with a smaller ball, on a smaller court and with five people to a team,” said Selness.

“It will engage our diverse population while serving Marshalltown’s growing need for soccer.”

In August, Marshalltown High School soccer coach Chris Fox, joined by resident and businessman Rick Hernandez, spoke enthusiastically before the city council in favor of the project. Both cited the urgent need for a free soccer facility, saying there was not one locally. Hernandez heads a local soccer club.

Their voices were heard by councilors, as it voted 7-0 to certify plans, specifications, form of contract, and cost for the resurfacing and other court and park improvements.

Specifically, a retaining wall is done and fence installation is almost complete with new black paint, said Selness in an email to the Times-Republican earlier this week.

” A prefab restroom is back ordered until the end of November,” she said.

Selness had reported to councilors estimated project costs of $196,300. Much of it was funded from grants secured from business, charitable and sports-based foundations. They ranged from the local Martha Ellen-Tye Foundation’s contribution of $$65,000 to a Wellmark Foundation allocation of $60,000, and a $15,000 grant from U.S. Soccer Club.

“We were one of only five cities nationwide to get the U.S. Soccer Club grant,” Selness said.

Additionally, the city contributed $65,000 from its Comprehensive Improvement Plan fund, also approved by council.

Selness told Mayor Jim Lowrance and council the project would be the first-of-its-kind lighted outdoor futsal complex in Iowa.

Once the project is completed, it will further compliment the multimillion dollar City of Marshalltown street and sewer investments put in place on North 13th Street several years ago.

All will be melded with significant private commercial investments in the revitalized commercial district identified by the dynamic “Echo” sculpture.

“It will also draw people to 13th Street and provide an attractive venue for local and regional tournaments,” Selness said. “This upgrade significantly is an asset Marshalltown can be proud of, and will better serve our changing community in years to come. Providing this new venue will allow a greater number of people to use the free facilities for recreational and physical activity pursuits.”

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com