Toledo to get first Ripken Foundation youth park in Ohio

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TOLEDO - (WTVG) - Kids in a South Toledo neighborhood will soon have a state-of-the-art sports complex.

Danny Thomas Park will be home to a Cal Ripken youth park for baseball, soccer and football.

The field at Danny Thomas park still gets used for sports but it doesn't look good.

Yet, neighborhood advocates see this as a field of possibilities.

Chris Amato with the Historic South Initiative says, "We see not only athletic events, we see neighborhood events. We're hoping to do band concerts here.'

And now, thanks to the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, the field will come alive again.

The plan is a $2-million, 75,000 square foot synthetic sports field, the first the Ripken Foundation will build in Ohio.

The Believe Center will organize sports and other programs for kids in the neighborhood.

Tonya Duran runs the Believe Center. She says, "The sports programs is one of the outlets how the kids stay out of trouble, stay out of gangs."

An impressive lineup is raising money for this project.

The State has kicked in some money along with the City of Toledo, private businesses, Major League Baseball and the Ripken Foundation. The Mud Hens will also play a part in this project.

Mike Anderson of The Andersons says this is money well spent. He told 13abc reporter Bill Hormann. "It also helps kids in school. Sports, the coaching is a strong link to education. It's not just having fun outside.'

An all this is happening in an area that's struggling in one of Toledo's most important corridors.

The mayor says, having the Ripken brand involved makes this a grand slam deal.

Toledo mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz says, "We're investing in a historic neighborhood while at the same time, doing right by our children."

Construction will begin in June and the field should be ready for play in August or September.

And Cal Ripken,Jr. will be here to throw out the first pitch.

Once built, the YMCA will take over maintenance and the city believes teams and leagues and tournaments from around the country will play here.

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