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Citizens Energy donates land to baseball not-for profit

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Play Ball Indiana, an Indianapolis-based not-for-profit that promotes the game of baseball to inner-city youth, has received a huge lift from Citizens Energy Group.

The groups announced Thursday that Citizens has donated 28 acres from its former Citizens Gas & Coke Utility site on the southeast side of Indianapolis to Play Ball for the development of a youth sports complex.

Citizens, which provides energy to more than 266,000 customers in and around Marion County, closed the 98-year-old coke foundry in 2007.

Play Ball still needs to raise $5 million to construct the diamonds and other facilities. Construction is set to start after the first of next year and could be completed in spring 2011, the not-for-profit said.

The property, which has undergone environmental remediation, is expected to house two baseball diamonds, two softball diamonds, indoor batting cages and offices, and an outdoor multi-use sports facility, according to Play Ball’s plan.

“It’s a significant development opportunity for the southeast side of town,” said Milt Thompson, a Play Ball director and president of Grand Slam Cos., a locally based sports marketing consultancy. “We’re really excited about it.”

Play Ball’s plan is to raise the funds in stages and seek an endorsement from Major League Baseball, which could donate to the cause or help the organization get former players to contribute, Thompson said.

Former Cincinnati Reds outfielder George Foster, part of the Big Red Machine of the 1970s, was expected to speak today at the luncheon and news conference as part of Play Ball’s annual Sandlot fundraiser.

Getting more black children interested in baseball has been an MLB goal for several year. The percentage of black players in the major leagues increased to 10.2 percent in 2008, the first increase since the 1995 season.

MLB reached an all-time low in black participation of 8.2 percent in 2007, according to a report from the University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports.
 

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  • Twin Drive In
    The site is the old Twin Drive-In Theater property - which I heard at one point was supposed to be used by IPL for a gas-fired peaking plant, using the gas from the coke ovens across the street. While the coke ovens went cold (EPA permits for new ones weren't forthcoming, for one), the gas lines were laid in... So, now what? Oh, and the "Nature Preserve"? That used to be a bowling alley, and is now mostly vacant dirt , concrete, and asphalt. No "nature" there! Otherwise, it would seem to be a good re-use for the property - although I'd leave out the soccer fields and stuff like that - Christian Park's fields aren't that far away, so leave more room for parking!
  • Nature Preserve?
    A nature preserve set between the sports complex and the Kroger parking lot? Come on, now...

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  1. From the story: "The city of Indianapolis also will consider tax incentives and funding for infrastructure required for the project, according to IEDC." Why would the City need to consider additional tax incentives when Lowe's has already bought the land and reached an agreement with IEDC to bring the jobs? What that tells me is that the City has already pledged the incentives, unofficially, and they just haven't had time to push it through the MDC yet. Either way, subsidizing $10/hour jobs is going to do nothing toward furthering the Mayor's stated goal of attracting middle and upper-middle class residents to Marion County.

  2. Ron Spencer and the entire staff of Theater on the Square embraced IndyFringe when it came to Mass Ave in 2005. TOTS was not only a venue but Ron and his friends created, presented and appeared in shows which embraced the 'spirit of the fringe'. He's weathered all the storms and kept smiling ... bon voyage and thank you.

  3. Not sure how many sushi restaurants are enough, but there are three that I know of in various parts of downtown proper and all are pretty good.

  4. First off, it's "moron," not "moran." 2nd, YOU don't get to vote on someone else's rights and freedoms that are guaranteed by the US Constitution. That's why this is not a state's rights issue...putting something like this to vote by, well, people like you who are quite clearly intellectually challenged isn't necessary since the 14th amendment has already decided the issue. Which is why Indiana's effort is a wasted one and a waste of money...and will be overturned just like this has in every other state.

  5. Rick, how does granting theright to marry to people choosing to marry same-sex partners harm the lives of those who choose not to? I cannot for the life of me see any harm to people who choose not to marry someone of the same sex. We understand your choice to take the parts of the bible literally in your life. That is fine but why force your religious beliefs on others? I'm hoping the judges do the right thing and declare the ban unconstitutional so all citizens of Wisconsin and Indiana have the same marriage rights and that those who chose someone of the same sex do not have less rights than others.

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