New facility will provide free, year-round instruction for 8,000 young athletes
Philadelphia, October 14, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter, The Philadelphia Phillies and Major League Baseball participated in a groundbreaking ceremony yesterday at the future site of the Phillies MLB Urban Youth Academy indoor training facility, located at the Marian Anderson Recreation Center in South Philadelphia.
“Today’s event is a wonderful example of the City partnering with community organizations and the private sector to renovate public recreation facilities in a neighborhood which lacks them,” said Mayor Nutter. “Improving parks and recreational spaces is a long process that involves infrastructure changes, natural resource management and the creation of healthy, sustainable spaces. By providing youth with fun and fulfilling environments in their own neighborhoods, we are giving them the tools to become successful, engaged adults.”
To create the new indoor baseball/softball training center, a 7,500 square-foot facility is being added to the existing recreation center. Among the many amenities to be included are four retractable batting cages, similar to the batting cages at the Carpenter Complex in Clearwater, Fla. which is the spring training site for the Phillies’ minor league players. In addition, parts of the Marian Anderson Recreation Center will be renovated to create adequate space for fitness training, as well as educational and baseball vocational programs.
Designed by local architect Ewing Cole, the new indoor facility is part of The Phillies MLB Urban Youth Academy, which is the only multi-site MLB Academy in existence. In addition to the new indoor training center at the recreation center, the Phillies MLB Urban Youth Academy consists of an outdoor location at Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park in South Philadelphia. The outdoor location opened this past June and features two boys’ baseball fields and two girls’ softball fields. Thanks to this multi-site MLB Academy, the more than 8,000 players who participate in the Phillies Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program in Philadelphia will now have access to free baseball and softball instruction year round.
The Philadelphia Phillies MLB Urban Youth Academy will be managed in collaboration by Major League Baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation. Former Major League and professional players, scouts, college and high school coaches, along with others from the baseball and softball communities, will provide instruction and program oversight. The Academy’s facility and program resources will be available to the young people in the Philadelphia area year-round through a membership program.
“We are delighted by the start of the construction on this important component of the first-ever multi-site Urban Youth Academy,” said Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred. “Major League Baseball strives for first-class facilities for all of our Academies, and we are looking forward to seeing this outstanding indoor space serve as a perfect complement to the already existing outdoor facilities. These facilities are crucial to the efforts by the Phillies to provide playing opportunities for the young people of Philadelphia.”
The Philadelphia Phillies MLB Urban Youth Academy is a strategic relationship that will enhance the quality of baseball and softball throughout Philadelphia while directly addressing other Philadelphia Parks and Recreation youth development objectives. It will create a dynamic youth program that utilizes baseball and softball to develop the athletic and social potential of participants. There will be programs offered for skill development, physical fitness, coach training and academic support.
The overall project is supported by MLB, the Phillies, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund (BTF), the City of Philadelphia, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as well as Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard.
“This is another proud moment for the City of Philadelphia, Major League Baseball and The Phillies,” said David Montgomery, Phillies Chairman. “In addition to four high-quality baseball and softball fields at FDR Park, talented young ball players throughout Philadelphia will soon have access to a state-of-the-art indoor training facility, along with top-notch instruction from countless mentors including former and current Major League players, scouts, coaches and so many others. Today’s groundbreaking ceremony is no doubt a symbol of what’s in store for the next generation of baseball.”