With demand for soccer fields far outstripping availability in built-out Glendale, city officials are taking a novel approach to freeing up additional space. They're going indoors.
Starting in June, the Civic Auditorium's upper level is slated to be converted into an indoor soccer area.
The plan — approved unanimously by the City Council this week — comes as demand for a soccer area in Glendale has become so great that some residents drive as far as Chatsworth to play, organizers said at a council meeting Tuesday.
“Soccer in Glendale is growing, and we are rooting for indoor soccer,” said Jack Iskanian, director of Ishtoyan Soccer Academy's tri-city league.
Glendale has three soccer fields, and plans for a fourth at Central Park were squashed.
Meanwhile, the Civic Auditorium may play host to weddings and cat shows on the weekends, but Glendale's main-event space sits idle most weekdays.
The indoor soccer program at the Civic Auditorium would be for six- or seven-player teams, smaller than the typical 11 players, and cover 6,000 square feet of the event space's upper level. The area is to be surrounded by a border of plastic and acrylic glass, mimicking an ice hockey rink.
The rental fee for the indoor space will be $75 an hour. City officials expect to make a $46,000 profit after the first year and $80,000 in subsequent years, after paying for an initial cost of the plastic border.
A similar idea was shot down in 2011 because there wasn't enough room for a full-sized field.
Onnig Bulankian, the city's community services manager, said he expects the program to be very popular.
“I have at least seven teams calling me,” he said.
Councilwoman Laura Friedman voted for the indoor soccer area, but said she wanted to make sure the games don't make the auditorium smell like a locker room.
“If you have one person rented for an event and it smells bad, you're not going to be able to rent it again to anybody, and they're going to complain and want their money back, and it's going to be an issue,” Friedman said. “If it smells like Pine-Sol, that's not the answer I want to hear either.”
Mayor Frank Quintero jokingly recommended city officials use Febreeze air freshener.