April 20, 2016
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Kansas City politicians, dignitaries, and even some Royals baseball players came to Parade Park on Wednesday, April 20, for the official ground-breaking ceremony of the Kansas City Urban Youth Academy, a new baseball facility to be located near the 18th and Vine district at Parade Park. The $14 million project – the result of partnership between the city of Kansas City, the Kansas City Royals, and Major League Baseball, among others – will feature three brand new baseball fields, a softball field, and an indoor training facility.
Barring inclement weather, mobilization for the new project is scheduled to begin next week; site clearing is scheduled for May 11; site excavation is set to begin on May 16, turf for the fields is planned for installation by mid-to-late July; and the completion of the first phase of the project is set for November of 2016. Phase 1 of the project also includes relocated basketball courts, renovated and relocated tennis courts, and a relocated playground near the Gregg/Klice Community Center.
Select dignitaries spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony about what the project means to both themselves and the metropolitan area:
Mayor Sly James:
“As Mayor, I can’t think of a better project than this one. This is a no-lose project,” said James. “It is not lost on me that 100 yards that way is the Negro Leagues Museum, where the Negro Leagues was started. Now we’re bringing baseball right back to the doorstep of where it all started here for the Negro Leagues.”
Royals General Manager Dayton Moore:
“This facility is going to be special, there’s no doubt about it. But the truth of the matter is it’s going to be a lot of hard work and a lot of dedication,” said Moore. “The work is going to be challenging. It’s ultimately going to be a great journey that we’re going to put our heart and soul in to make work.”
3rd District City Councilman Jermaine Reed:
“This location is just a few blocks from the old Monarchs’ Municipal Stadium. I think about some of those great players, like Jackie Robinson and Buck O’Neil, Satchel Paige, Ernie Banks, and some of those others who really played and perfected their game right here on those fields,” said Reed. “I’m looking forward not only to having folks come down here and play baseball, but also for what the future plans of 18th and Vine look like.”
3rd District at-large City Councilman Quinton Lucas:
“What brings us here today? It’s something more than just baseball, and something more than the history of Kansas City. Instead, we’re here to celebrate something else: our youth,” said Lucas. “Thank you for caring, thank you for funding, and thank you for remembering those with the most need in our community. I look forward to us being here again real soon to say ‘Play ball.'”