The City of Rohnert Park cut the ribbons on the newly renovated and installed Alicia Park futsal courts. The vision and dedication to revitalize Alicia Park courts into futsal courts is the product of a community collaboration between the City of Rohnert Park, Latino Alliance, The Goals Foundation and American Panna.
For the past several years, city council prioritized improvements to the city’s park system. Alicia Park has had numerous improvements, including the resurfacing of the tennis court that transitioned to soccer-only play. Mayor Joseph T. Callinan said, “Now more than ever, it is imperative that we invest in our open spaces for the youth of this city, and I am thrilled that we have been able to resurface the Alicia Park courts, with more to come. Investing in recreational spaces for our children, builds stronger communities and brings people together for positive and healthy social experiences. These safe places to play will provide more youth with opportunities to participate in sports and programs where they can develop life skills that will help them succeed on and off the court. The renovated courts also demonstrate the power of partnerships, thanks to Latino Alliance, The Goals Foundation and American Panna partners. Your thoughtfulness and care for the Rohnert Park community will help our city grow even stronger in the years to come. Great work, to you all – keep it up!”
It was the vision of Frankie Lemus with Latino Alliance and Nick Rogers with American Panna to transform the former tennis courts into futsal courts. Futsal, a five-on-five soccer game that can be traced back to the 1930s, can be played indoors and outdoors without the use of side walls. The duo partnered with the GOALS Foundation, a Sonoma County-based nonprofit, to fund the metamorphosis of tennis courts into futsal courts. In addition to seeking funding, Latino Alliance and Rogers also cleaned the courts, pulled weeds, and brought in their own goals, offering a place for youth in the community to play.
New lighted futsal courts were made possible by $100,000 in grant funding from The Goals Foundation. Monica Rowley, executive director and co-founder of the nonprofit organization said, “The Goals Foundation is excited for the installation of the first mini-pitch courts in the North Bay as part of our Safe Places to Play project. The courts are perfect for pick-up games and organized soccer programs. One of our goals is to provide an after-school soccer program including an all-inclusive soccer program for children with special needs. The collaboration between the City of Rohnert Park, The Goals Foundation, Latino Alliance of Rohnert Park/Cotati and the American Panna Championship proved to be a win-win for the community! We’re looking forward to transforming underutilized areas here in Sonoma County. Our goal is to provide twenty Safe Places to Play within the next five years through partnerships with our government agencies, private businesses and sponsors.”
The conversion to futsal courts included fence removal, new LED lights, and coming soon, a drinking fountain and an artist-commissioned mural. In addition, U.S. Soccer Foundation and Musco Lighting designed a modular fencing system, referred to as a mini-pitch system. Courts include benches and lockable storage for equipment.
The city has applied for a multi-million dollar grant with hopes of continuing to renovate the open space, picnic area, baseball field, and playground. Opportunities to provide input on park upgrades will resume in 2021.
Following state guidelines, the futsal courts are not open for public use at this time.