SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. — City and community partners, including Republic FC, cut the ribbon at the Del Paso Heights Sports Complex on Monday, revealing four futsal courts. Funded by the City of Sacramento, officials said the project was an investment in a historically underserved neighborhood.
"This has been a well-known neighborhood where we need a lot of new things going on for the kids here in this community," said Lakisha Hines, who lived down the street from the new sports complex.
A grandmother to six, Hines has lived in Del Paso Heights for the last 19 years with her family. Proud of the progress, she said she remembered when the lot where the futsal court sat was an empty field.
She brought her grandson, K'yrael to participate in the opening day soccer clinic, hosted by Republic FC.
"It's somewhere where they can come and be comfortable," she said. "It'll give them somewhere safe, where they can come and have somewhere safe to be instead of being out there on the streets trying to sell drugs and trying to kill and hurt each other."
Although the project had been in the works since 2015, the city had invested $200 million over the past 36 months from a combination of Measure U, General Fund and American Relief Act dollars.
Republic FC joined the project to provide additional programming and resources to activate the futsal courts, according to a city press release, as well as work directly with the U.S. Soccer Foundation and Black Players for Change to help fund the project. Mutual Assistance Network, an organization that had already been managing Robertson Community Center would manage the sports complex.
"It tells community that you’re important, we see you and we’re going to make investments for the youth in your community," said Mervin Brookins, the founder of Grant Youth Sports. "For decades, we haven’t had investments from the city."
Brookins was one of many involved in the creation of the Del Paso Sports Complex. He said the project showed the community they were valued and worth investing in.
"We all get messages, negative and positive, and in this instance, this is a positive message for the community," he said.
If successful, Brookins said the complex has the potential to be a catalyst for more investments within Del Paso Heights.
"It has as much to do with economic development as it does with something to do for our kids," he said.
The project would also included a revitalized softball field within the complex. Developers said that was expected in January 2022.