Public futsal courts are coming to GR’s West Side

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Futsal fans will soon have a new place to watch and play the football game in Grand Rapids.

Wednesday morning the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority approved up to $337,000 in budget funds to convert part of a west side parking lot into three outdoor futsal pitches. The funding also covers the addition of certain amenities and the operation of the courts for two to three years.

futsal is a scaled down version of football involving two teams of five players competing on a smaller pitch with a smaller ball. It is usually played indoors.

Contractors would resurface the northern portion of DASH Lot 9 at 250 Seward Ave. NW near Bridge Street. They would install a 12-foot fence around the playing area and 5-foot fences around each court to prevent interruptions to play and prevent balls from rolling into surrounding streets.

(An image provided by Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. shows the proposed layout for the planned temporary futsal courts at 250 Seward Ave. NW.)

Plans also include seating, temporary restrooms, goals and murals by local artists who share the culture of futsal, which was first popularized in South America.

“It’s a global sport so I feel like we can showcase the diversity of Grand Rapids with the number of people playing the sport and bring it here downtown,” Corey Mathein said. , project manager for Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.

(An image provided by Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. shows the proposed colors for the planned temporary futsal pitches at 250 Seward Ave. NW.)

Mathein said he has been working on this pilot program since joining Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. in September 2022. He said the community was involved in the process and he collaborated with The Football Revoltwhich began in Grand Rapids and expanded with events in Philadelphia, Detroit and New York.

“So (The Soccer Rebellion) is trying to tap into this emerging sport here in Grand Rapids and kind of set the standard for America,” Mathein told DDA.

Mathein said the courts would also give children the opportunity to play without the pressure of a rigorous schedule or high costs that can accompany some organized sports — a benefit that extends to residents of all ages.

“They have the opportunity to play this sport for free, to meet new people, and then I also feel like it’s a great benefit to reinvent the downtown space,” Mathein said.

Courts would be designed to be open to the public at all times. Mathein said the initial goal was to have the space ready by August or early September, but he should have a more specific project timeline when he talks to contractors this week.

If all goes well with the temporary courts over the next two to three years, DGRI would look to move the concept to a permanent location in downtown Grand Rapids.

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