Urban Youth Academy gets boost as fundraising efforts surpass goal

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Efforts to revive baseball in Kansas City’s urban core just received a big boost. City officials announced Monday they’ve raised enough money to completely finance construction on the Urban Youth Academy.

Fundraisers actually collected several million dollars more than the original $14-million goal. That means they can now move forward with building an indoor facility along with the baseball and softball fields already under construction.

When they broke ground back in April, they just had enough money for the fields but not enough for everything else. Now they do.

Fundraisers were able to secure some large donations from private donors to reach their goal.

Once completed this fall, the Urban Youth Academy will provide free uniforms, free equipment and free instruction to young inner city athletes who want to learn the game of baseball.

"Couldn't be more excited about the news and all the folks who have been involved with making this up urban youth baseball Academy dream come to fruition and to have kids right here in our backyard playing baseball again and learning everything that is associated with this great sport of ours is very exciting," Kendrick said.

Right now, a lack of fields in the inner city and the high cost of playing baseball keep many low-income families away from the game. But this Academy will change that.

The Royals and Major League Baseball are partners in this endeavor, and local leaders are thrilled the money is now all there to complete this project.

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is also a partner with this Academy.

Kendrick tells FOX 4 the money being poured into this facility is a great thing for the area as it should spark even more economic development and prosperity at 18th and Vine.

"This is a great project," Kendrick added. "It's a life-changing kind of project. So it was only fitting that they would be so successful in this effort, and we're looking forward to being a partner in this and also seen kids playing baseball again."

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