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Reds Urban Youth Academy almost finished
CINCINNATI (Joe Webb) -- Reds fans look forward to Opening Day on Monday but the team has a couple of other big "opening days" later this year.
Crews are putting the final touches on the P&G Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy in Roselawn. The 7-million dollar complex will host its first baseball games in April and the full academy will open in July.
Reds Executive Phil Castellini seemed to enjoy showing off the Reds' latest project. With two million dollars from P&G, a million and a half from Major League Baseball, Roselawn Park is turning into baseball's fifth Urban Baseball Academy.
Three full sized baseball fields and a softball diamond flank the new 35,000 square foot main building. It's meant to mirror the Goodyear, Arizona spring home. It will house batting cages, an indoor infield and classrooms. Year-round baseball will be the focus but the academy will also provide an after school program, tutoring and health classes.
"We'll touch far more kids in that way than we will produce pro athletes here. But again, ultimately, trust me, I can't wait to hang the picture of the first guy drafted that came through this program. But there's a heckuva lot more reasons that we're doing this," Castellini said.
The academy takes up a lot of space in Roselawn Park but nothing was displaced. The shelter, bathrooms and basketball courts were rebuilt closer to the park's entrance. The project is not only home to the academy, the rebuilt main field is home to Walnut Hills and Purcell Marian's varsity baseball teams. Head coach Trent West is coming home.
He tells us, "I grew up in the Roselawn community so I spent many days here playing baseball on this field. It's been a great thing to come back as a coach right in the backyard where I grew up at."
Trent West is a local kid who got good at baseball and used it to get an education. A story they hope to create more of with the Urban Youth Academy.
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