Every year now, 2,000 kids participate in the World Baseball Academy’s Hoosier Classic amateur youth baseball tournaments in the heart of our city. For each of the past three years, these tournaments have generated more than $1 million in tourism as youth baseball teams from around the Midwest and Canada come to Fort Wayne to compete.
As chairman of the WBA board of directors, I am proud of this not-for-profit organization’s track record and excited about the potential for even greater impact. From the beginning of the community discussion about how to invest Legacy funds, we have promoted the idea of making Fort Wayne a premier destination for youth baseball by renovating facilities at the ASH Centre, 1701 Freeman St.
New fields, built for extensive use, would allow tournaments to grow significantly and provide more playing opportunities for local kids. Ever since the Legacy Youth Task Force recommended investing Legacy dollars into this vision two years ago, more and more people have gotten excited about it.
WBA is urging City Council and Mayor Tom Henry to make a determination soon on investing Legacy dollars in a quality youth baseball complex so matching funds can be raised and construction can occur in time for the 2016 baseball season. The sooner the ballfields are in place, the sooner Fort Wayne’s economy can reap the benefits.
LEE DE TURK