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Government

Kansas City Council Committee Endorses Tax Credits For MLB Youth Academy

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With Kansas City revved on Royals post-season play, a city council committee laid the groundwork for phase two of the development of the planned Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy in Parade Park near 18th and Vine.

Mayor Sly James announced the $14 million baseball project in late September, explaining that funding for phase one was in place. The Royals and, Major League Baseball had committed $2 million and the MLB Players Association another $1 million. The state of Missouri and the city were to combine resources to match those contributions.

Phase two will involve a capital campaign, which was the focus of presentations at the Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee on Wednesday.

The committee gave unanimous endorsement to the Missouri Development Finance Board to approve $4 million in tax credits for donors to phase two.

City Director of Economic Development Kerrie Tyndall explained that the tax credits would leverage donations of $8 million or more to fully fund phase two.

Tyndall was accompanied by Royals Director of Baseball Administration Kyle Vena and representatives of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the Boys and Girls Clubs, which will operate the youth programs at the academy.

Vena explained that in addition to four baseball fields and the academy building the Parade Park facility would preserve the existing basketball and tennis courts and walking trail. 

He said programs would not be limited to training youth in baseball skills, and would include training for adults interested in coaching or umpiring youth baseball games, supporting roles in and administration in youth sports, as well as sports reporting and photography.

Venn said a realistic estimate is that as many as 4,000 persons would participate in the various youth and adult programs in the course of a year.

Boys and Girls Clubs officials emphasized that though only a few young participants will actually go on to careers on the major league playing fields the new academy will be valuable as a training-ground for kids who will go to college on baseball scholarships.  A major value, they said, will be the use of sports training as life skills training – teaching teamwork, perseverance and good sportsmanship.

Steve Bell is afternoon news anchor and business news reporter for KCUR.  He may be reached at 816-235-5173 or by e-mail as steveb@kcur.org

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