Three area communities on short list to land Little League regional HQ

Little League International is relocating its Central Region headquarters, but it might not be going very far—three Indianapolis-area communities are among a handful of finalists for the next headquarters location.

Little League International announced in October that it would relocate its Central Region headquarters from Indianapolis and solicited proposals from other communities.

The organization announced Thursday that it had narrowed the field to five cities. Plainfield, Westfield and Zionsville are among the finalists, while Matteson, Illinois, and Chicago also are still in the running.

The Central Region, which has been based at 42nd Street and Mitthoeffer Road on the northeast side of Indianapolis, is one of five Little League offices in the United States. It was established in 1989 and oversees operations for about 26,000 baseball and softball teams and 375,000 players in 13 states.

The facility each August has hosted the regional tournaments that lead up to the Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and the Little League Softball World Series in Portland, Oregon.

In February, Cathedral High School acquired the former Central Region headquarters for an undisclosed amount. The 35-acre property had been listed for $495,000.

Little League declined to say how many communities turned in proposals for the headquarters, but Zionsville and Westfield both publicly announced their interest.

Westfield pitched the use of its 400-acre Grand Park Sports Campus for the headquarters, while Zionsville played up its long-running local Little League.

“Our proposal offers all the right reasons for LLI to call Zionsville home—a highly engaged volunteer base, a safe and thriving community and a rich history of Little League baseball and softball,” Michael Rinebold, president of Zionsville Little League, said in a written statement. “While we are confident we can provide LLI with a great facility and solid infrastructure, we feel equally proud of the community’s ability to embrace the teams, families and visitors to make their experiences here special.”

An announcement of the selected city is expected in November, with baseball and softball competitions to start at the new headquarters in summer 2019.

Meanwhile, Westfield will have an opportunity to showcase Grand Park this summer when it hosts the 2017 baseball and softball Central Region Tournaments. The Little League Softball Central Region Tournament is set for July 24-28 while the Little League Baseball Central Region Tournament is scheduled for Aug. 6-12. Portions of the tournaments are typically telecast nationally by ESPN.

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