WATCH: Salvy gives Urban Youth Academy big boost

Posted at 1:47 PM, Mar 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-02 17:27:46-05

Youth baseball in Kansas City takes a giant step forward with approval from a city committee of the first phase for the Urban Youth Academy.

The academy will be located at Parade Park behind the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in the 18th and Vine district.

Before leaving for Jefferson City Wednesday morning, Mayor Sly James asked the city’s finance committee for their support to get the project moving forward.

The committee unanimously voted to approve the first phase for the Urban Youth Academy.

This first phase costs $7,052,000. Funding for the project comes from the state, city bonds, MLB and the MLB Players Association.

Construction for the first phase is scheduled to begin in the spring.

AP: Royals' Perez gives $1 million to Urban Youth Academy

The AP reports Royals catcher Salvador Perez is donating $1 million to the Urban Youth Academy.

The news Wednesday came one day after Perez signed a $52.5 million, five-year contract that will keep him with Kansas City through the 2021 season.

Perez, who will have a field named after him, said he wanted to donate to the project to give back to Kansas City. The Royals signed him as a 16-year-old prospect out of Venezuela, and he's become a fan favorite while helping the franchise to the World Series title last year.

At the end of Phase I construction, there will be four baseball fields and softball fields. It will also include basketball courts, off-site tennis courts, an improved walking trail and a playground.

A second phase for the project is planned. It will house an indoor training facility.

Once the Urban Youth Academy opens, James said it’ll attract 600 to 1,000 children.

The Royals are making a major investment to make sure the academy is a success.

"They're young players coming in and offering to the kids of Kansas City for 20 years at no cost, the outstanding contacts that they'll be able to have. Major League Baseball basically told us that this is the new model going forward, and we're very proud of that," James said.

The hope is that it'll impact other issues the city faces like crime.

"What we’re trying to do is to give our kids every option that they possibly need to be successful and good citizens and to build leadership traits and skills. So I think this is going to do it, and I can tell you that we're all pretty excited about getting this done. This is going to be pretty neat deal for the kids of this city," James said.

The first phase of the Urban Youth Academy is expected to pass the full council Thursday before construction can begin.


Andres Gutierrez can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter

Connect on Facebook