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Hialeah to benefit from Marlins ballpark plans

For much of 2006, the Marlins and Miami-Dade County were considering a swath of land in far western Hialeah for a new ballpark. The area west of I-75 and east of Florida’s Turnpike ultimately proved difficult and costly to pull together and officials eventually renewed stadium talks with the city of Miami.

But Hialeah is to benefit from the Marlins stadium plans. Earlier this year, Major League Baseball threw the city a bone, promising to help develop a youth baseball academy in the city. Hialeah and Miami-Dade Sports Commission officials brought the academy a step closer to reality this week. The commission board approved on Thursday a resolution supporting the project and Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina said MLB’s commitment is firm.

Robaina said the academy is one of the community benefits, the Marlins, MLB, the county and the city agreed would be part of the baseball stadium agreement that was approved in February.

The 20-acre complex is to include seven baseball fields, batting cages, clubhouse, training facility and office space. It is to be open to kids as young as 5 through high school age and is to include camps and clinics. Robaina expects it to attract players from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties and beyond.

Robaina said the city is providing the land and MLB has agreed to put about $3.5 million into the project, which will also serve as a training facility for coaches, athletic trainers, scouts, and umpires. The academy is expected to be similar to one MLB established in Compton, Calif.

“I was looking for something I could tie into baseball and some sort of vocational with umpires and field crews, training,” Robaina said..

Construction is expected to start in 2009 and be completed by mid-2010. Robaina says he has been told the project will move forward, even if the long-awaited Marlins ballpark is never built on the site of the former Orange Bowl.

Categories: Florida Marlins (193)

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About the author
CRAIG DAVIS In more than 33 years at the Sun Sentinel, Craig Davis has written about a wide variety of sports topics from baseball to yachting, fishing to triathlons, and also worked as a copy editor and page designer. Recently he reported on local sports, including running, swimming, cycling, equestrian and beach volleyball. He enjoys sports as a participant as well as a spectator, is active in the South Florida running scene plays in the curling club at Saveology Iceplex. This blog offers a glimpse at the business side of sports in the interest of enhancing enjoyment of the games and sporting options as a spectator as well as a participant.
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