Parade Park to be turned into a Major League Baseball urban youth academy

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Mayor Sly James Friday announced plans to turn Parade Park into a Major League Baseball urban youth academy.

Four new state-of-the-art baseball diamonds and an indoor practice area complete with batting tunnels will be built to serve between 800 and 1,000 kids.

This would be the seventh urban youth academy that Major League Baseball has established. MLB is contributing $2-million to the first phase of the project, the players' association is kicking in $1-million. And the state of Missouri and city of Kansas City each are spending $2-million to introduce more urban core kids to baseball and provide education and career opportunities.

"Our goal is really to capture young boys and young girls to continue to play baseball and softball," said Royals General Manager Dayton Moore. "We are going to do our part to help come alongside them, grow them as leaders, teach them the game and essentially we're going to run this like our ninth affiliate."

Other improvements to the park will include a walking trail, new basketball courts and a playground.

The Kansas City Royals lobbied the league to bring an academy here to work with the Boys and Girls Club and MLB's Reviving Baseball in the Inner City program.

The first MLB academy in Compton, Calif., already has produced major league players, including Anthony Gose and Aaron Hicks. Kansas City's academy could bring us the next Frank White.