MARTA also has launched a Friday produce market at the station and plans to add a visual and performing arts program and community garden.
“If we can help with increasing the economic viability of this region, we want to do that,” MARTA CEO Keith Parker said, adding he is open to bringing the mini-fields to other stations. “If we can help kids find more things to do that keeps them productive then we absolutey want to be a part of that.”
The new small Five Points field or “mini pitch” is less than half the size of a regulation soccer field, boosters said. It replaces a little-used concrete plaza off the station’s west entrance on Forsyth Street and includes about nine rows of seating above the field.
The Atlanta United Foundation gave MARTA a $96,000 grant for the field. The organization also has partnered with six Atlanta elementary schools to build soccer programs — M. Agnes Jones, Dunbar, F.L. Stanton, Scott, Towns and Westside Atlanta Charter School.
Phil Hill, executive director of Soccer in the Streets, which targets underserved communities for sports programming, said the idea of a MARTA soccer field was considered insane initially. After the unveiling, he hopes the insanity is contagious.
“It’s our goal to build 20 of these grassroots facilities throughout the city,” he said.