116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION — Hanna Park in Marion has been chosen as one of 10 sites in Iowa to receive a soccer mini-pitch from a campaign hoping to expand soccer across the state.
The mini-pitch, a $100,000 amenity, is being given to the city as part of the statewide $1 million Pro Iowa campaign.
Pro Iowa, a campaign organized to support the development of a $60 million USL Championship soccer stadium to Des Moines, is pursuing other efforts to expand the internationally popular sport’s popularity in the Hawkeye state with mini pitches in communities including Pleasant Hill, Des Moines, Sioux City, Council Bluffs, Perry and Clive.
Marion is the only Eastern Iowa community included in the mini-pitch project. The mini-pitch will be the only pitch of its type in the Cedar Rapids metro area.
Mini-pitches are smaller soccer pitches that sometimes are hard-surfaced and surrounded by a rebound wall, similar to hockey, and allowing a constant state of faster game play.
Hanna Park, which saw extensive tree damage from last year’s derecho, is in the midst of upgrades and replanting efforts this summer.
“It’s going to be really neat,” City Parks and Recreation Director Seth Staashelm said of the mini-pitch. “It’s a little different than normal soccer. It’s a harder surface and it’s smaller, really pushing on the footwork aspect, making the game faster.”
Staashelm said the addition of the soccer pitch will provide future programming opportunities for the city. He added that once the new Marion Independent School District elementary school is built where the current football field is, the mini-pitch will provide nearby after-school opportunities.
The mini-pitch project is a collaboration among Pro Iowa, Kick It Forward and Musco Lighting. The first pitch in Clive held its grand opening last weekend.
Musco’s mini-pitch system comes fully equipped with lighting, fencing, goals and benches and will be open to the public.
“These mini pitches offer the opportunity to rejuvenate abandoned courts or areas with limited space, creating a fun and active place that makes the game of soccer accessible to communities across the state,” Pro Iowa Director of Revenue Kyle Davy said.
Staashelm said the only thing the city is doing on the project’s behalf is providing the surface area. The city also is repaving and upgrading the Hanna Park basketball court this summer, which will be located next to the mini-soccer pitch.
The basketball court should be paved this month. Then, the mini-pitch could be done in July or the beginning of August
“The surface we have on there right now is insufficient,” Staashelm said of the basketball court.
Staashelm added the need to upgrade Hanna Park is “tremendous.”
“Before the derecho, it was needed,” he said. “After, it’s even more so. We have plans next to replace the pavilion. Within a couple years, the park will look really refreshed.
The total cost of repaving the multiple surface areas and park upgrades is estimated at $50,000, Staashelm said.
“We’re doing that all in-house, so we’re really just paying for the materials,” Staashelm said. “This is saving the taxpayers dollars, and part of that $50,000 is the trees we’re planting and landscaping.”
Staashelm said the city has planted nearly 100 trees in the Hanna Park area.
“We will probably do even more in the future, too, as we look at that pavilion project,” he said. “There’s a lot of green space there, so we want to provide that park feel and shade and other benefits we get from having a lot of trees back.”
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