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Mayor’s new program looks to baseball to bolster KC youth

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- On Sunday, Mayor Sly James spoke with the community about ways to make Kansas City a better place to live and work.

It is a tradition that has lasted several decades, as the city's longest ongoing conversation. Sunday's forum at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church tackled economic development downtown and ways to provide positive outlets for area kids.

Mayor Sly James introduced several programs being introduced in the metro area, including the "Urban Youth Academy" which brings back baseball as a positive influence for students. "We are doing a lot of things that are playing quite well in the arenas that they pay attention to. We are starting to see more and more people young people come back if they live here. And move in if they haven't," James said.

Martin Hazlett is a member of the church and said baseball is an important way to build character and life lessons which serve the city.

"Every school had a baseball field... I mean it was your sport and it's what you did. But today, most have been torn down for various reasons. I drive around the eastside and I couldn't find a baseball field," Hazlett said.

Mayor Sly James just came back from lobbying in Jefferson City to show his support for earnings tax.

This is the fifth January in a row he has given an address at the church.