City Council throws a first pitch in building nation’s 7th Urban Youth Academy

baseballKansas City this week moved toward creating a youth academy intended to help children and help revive the urban core.

The city council on Thursday approved more than $2 million in funding for the Urban Youth Academy to be at Parade Park in the 18th and Vine district.

Its goal is to serve 800 to 1,000 youth a year from ages 6 to 18.

The state is donating $2 million more for the first construction stage along with $2 million from the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Foundation and $1 million from MLB Players Association.

That is to build two major-league sized ball fields, one smaller ball field and a softball field, along with things like a walking trail, better basketball and tennis courts and a playground.

A second phase calls for raising about $7 million in private money for a new building with indoor batting cages, training rooms and classrooms.

But it may be possible to raise enough stage-two money to do the whole thing at once.

Royals catcher Salvador Perez this week pledged to donate $1 million and Royals players Alex Gordon and Chris Young have reportedly pledged as well.

And Mayor Sly James this week announced a major fund raiser for it called “Relay the Way.”

More than 2,500 fans are expected to donate at least $30 each to relay a baseball along a 10-mile route from Union Station to the pitching mouind at Kauffman Stadium.

That will be April 3, before the start of the Royals home opener against the Mets.

Spots on the relay route can be purchased at

Those who participate will also get a commemorative T-shirt.

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