Kansas City to get baseball academy

Councilman Quinton Lucas at the announcement

Councilman Quinton Lucas at the announcement of an Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy to be built at 18th and Vine.

New baseball diamonds and more for youth are coming to the 18th and Vine area, as it gets a Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy.

It will be the seventh such academy nationwide, and officials announced it today at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

“This facility is going to work to create a campus feel in our historic 18th and Vine area,” said mayor Sly James, help youth, and trigger more development.

Dayton Moore, general manager of the Royals, said, “This is going to be the model urban youth academy in all of baseball.”

It is a partnership involving the city, baseball management, the Major League Baseball Players Association, and area Boys and Girls Clubs.

The stated goal: Use baseball instruction to provide youth with educational and career opportunities and attract more urban youth to baseball.

The two-phase project would use a mix of city, state and private funding to transform a 21-acre park bounded by Truman Road, 18th Street and the Paseo and Woodland Avenue.

Courtesy Populus.

Courtesy Populous.

The announcement came after commitments of $6.5 million for phase one, James said, which will include two baseball fields, two softball-baseball fields, bleachers, a walking trail, renovated tennis courts and a playground.

The city will provide $2.32 million out of Public Improvement Advisory Committee (PIAC) funds, he said, and other funding for phase one includes $2 million from the state and $1 million from major league baseball.

Phase one is expected to be completed by fall of 2016, and meanwhile a committee will raise  money for $7.5 million phase two.

That is to include an indoor baseball training facility, concession facilities, lighting for the baseball fields, and a great lawn for event space and additional parking.

Also from a city media release:

The initial goal of the academy in Kansas City is to serve 800-1,000 youth a year, ages 6-18.

Besides baseball and softball, it will provide access to things like tutoring programs, college prep courses, college and career fairs, financial literacy and internship programs.

The first academy started in Compton, California, in 2006 and now the six academies provide baseball and softball training to 12,000 youth.

In the last two seasons, seven Compton alumni have appeared on the rosters of major league baseball teams.

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