The Fort Wayne City Council next week will consider a $600,000 Legacy Fund request from Fort Wayne's World Baseball Academy for lighting at new youth baseball fields at the ASH Centre.
If approved, the $600,000 would go toward lighting at three new fields that were recently installed at the World Baseball Academy west of downtown. The total cost of the lighting project is $650,000.
It's not the first time the World Baseball Academy has requested money from the city's Legacy Fund, which is comprised of funds generated by the lease and sale of the city's old power utility. The organization abandoned an $823,000 request submitted in 2014, despite gaining a rare approval from the Legacy Joint Funding Committee, which oversees the funding proposal process.
"We quietly withdrew our proposal just as riverfront development took the main focus of the City Council," Caleb Kimmel, CEO of the World Baseball Academy, said at the time. "We just didn't think it was the right time. It wasn't a negative decision by any means. We just thought maybe we'd hold off and present it in the future as riverfront development progresses."
In a news release Tuesday, Kimmel acknowledged concerns about the organization's previous proposal.
"We realize that four years ago when this project was recommended by the Legacy Joint Funding Committee, there was some doubt as to whether there was enough community support to make these fields reality," Kimmel said. "The community has put those doubts to rest, rallying to donate nearly $2.8 million to build top-quality fields. A $600,000 grant from Legacy would allow us to complete the project with lights, this year."
Council is expected to discuss the request at its Feb. 7 meeting.
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