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Northern Nevada getting its first outdoor lighted futsal courts at Paradise Park

Two futsal courts will be added to Paradise Park. (Handout)
Two futsal courts will be added to Paradise Park. (Handout)
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Teglia's Paradise Park is northeast Reno is getting two additions in the coming months aimed at improving the downtrodden park at the corner of Oddie and Silverada boulevards.

Two futsal courts, which are essentially shortened soccer pitches, will be installed this spring at a cost of $154,650, funded largely by the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program. The park sits in Reno's Ward 3 district, represented by city council member Oscar Delgado, who grew up down the street from the new futsal court site.

"We'll be able to utilize some grant funding, some CDBG funding, to really revitalize and change a part of Paradise Park that wasn't being well utilized," Delgado said. "For those who know the parking lot area next to the drive-in movie theater, there was some blight, some unfortunate circumstances and we want to clean it up. And what better way to bring some life to it than to have some youth, some family, some kids playing on some futsal courts in the spring of this year?"

Delgado said the installation of the futsal courts was inspired by conversations with community members in that area.

"Talking to our Parks and Rec. department in addition to talking to a lot of the kids in the community," Delgado said. "Things don't launch off and aren't successful unless the community is involved in those conversations. That's when we reach out to the youth, the families and say, 'What can we do that's different here without having to tear everything up?' They said, 'Let's do some futsal courts.' And it's something that's becoming attractive and growing as a sport across the U.S. and the world."

The courts are modular systems produced by Musco Sports that come with lighting, fencing, goals, benches, ADA-compliant access and lockable storage. Assembly takes about 12 hours with a three-person crew. They will be the Northern Nevada's first outdoor lighted futsal courts.

"It's basically soccer with a heavier ball," Delgado said. "It's gives people an opportunity to get creative with the soccer ball. It's a lot of footwork. It's in a smaller space, usually on concrete, on a harder surface. You've probably done it yourself but didn't call it futsal. You just played it on the street, played it on your driveway. It's a heavier ball, a smaller ball and a lot of fun.

"It's basically playing it on a basketball court, and you have some barriers to keep it in a confined area, and it's actually safer for participants and viewers to stand behind it. The ball's a little heavier, so it stays closer to the ground and isn't flying all over the place."

The courts are typically 82 feet wide by 138 feet long, which is roughly one-third the size of a traditional field. There are two five-person teams that play against each other. Delgado said he's hopeful the courts are installed by this spring as one of the first big steps toward improving Paradise Park, which have existed since the Paradise Park Ponds opened in 1958.

"Spring of this year, hopefully in April, May," Delgado said of an opening date. "They'll paint it, add some new infrastructure, some new lighting, make sure it's ADA accessible to everybody in our community to have access to it. The larger plan for Paradise Park is really looking forward to the opportunities for a redesign. Working with community foundations, other grant funds. The playground equipment is really tired.

"I grew up right down the street from Paradise Park. We want to make sure the equipment, the slides are safe for kids. Making sure we do some maintenance around the ponds. The ponds serve a purpose. They're there for storm water. They're not just there for looks. We want to make sure the infrastructure is there, it's taken care of and all the deferred maintenance is up and going. Making sure the grass and turf is taken care of. There are a lot of opportunities for a redesign."

Delgado has been influential in the creation of a skate park on Neil Road and the opening of Cyan Park in south Reno as well as improvements at Pat Baker Park and bringing back Trainer Pool. He's working on getting funding to add more pools to Reno and improve trailheads in town. Delgado said improved outdoor recreation will increase community health.

"The biggest thing we're taking away right now, the silver lining with the pandemic is the importance of public health, the importance of being outside, the importance of making sure you're staying physically active," Delgado said. "We also know looking by zip codes, especially that area out there, there are chronic disease issues that plague those neighborhoods like obesity issues, hypertension, blood pressure and so forth. A way to break into those issues is to make sure there's a safe place for kids to go and exercise and for families to go exercise and take those walks. Nobody's going to a park or open space if it doesn't look like it's being cared for and doesn't look safe. We want to make sure we do our part to say people have the option for that."

Delgado said the Paradise Park project was especially meaningful to him given he grew up in that area of town.

"It means everything to me," Delgado said. "Growing up right down the street as a kid growing up, the first place we'd go back in the day was Arctic Circle and further down the road it was McDonald's. You'd grab your ice cream cone and walk around the park with your family and friends. Before Bernice Matthews (Elementary School) was built, there was a field there where I'd go play soccer and hang out. That was there for me as a kid, and I want to make sure that's there for the kids now. It means everything to me to make sure we continue to improve our parks, to make sure we're always continuing and creatively thinking about how there's usefulness taking place."

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