Tallmadge -- By this fall, the Tallmadge Little League hopes its players will be honing their batting and fielding skills in a field house at Memorial Park.
The sports organization that has been in Tallmadge for more than 50 years is working with the city on revising its contract for the lease and maintenance of Mack Burleson Baseball Complex on Wright Road, a spot at the park known as "The Hole," so that the Little League can build the field house in a wooded area next to the picnic shelter and playground.
Council is expected to consider the revised contract in the near future. If Council approves the amended lease, the Little League will be responsible for maintaining the building, just as it does the baseball fields.
Plans for the 60-by-80-foot pole building call for an open space for players to practice and two batting cages that each accommodate four batters. The 4,800-square-foot facility would not be available for public use.
Little League spokesman Tom Headrick said the field house would serve as an indoor facility in which players in the winter training program could practice. The program gives kids an opportunity to continue honing their skills during the off-season.
"It's something a lot more leagues are going to, having winter development facilities," Headrick said. "It keeps kids active throughout the winter in a baseball and softball format."
He said the Little League wants to keep its players competitive with those from other communities, and having a facility such as the field house enables the organization to move in that direction.
The cost to build the field house and install the batting cages would be in the $60,000s, he said. The Little League would pay for the entire project.
If Council approves the lease, Headrick said he hopes construction will begin before the organization's parade April 28.
A stipulation of the proposed lease may be that if the Little League were to stop using the fieldhouse and break the contract, the ownership and maintenance of the facility would revert to the city, Headrick said.
The Little League has recreational, non-city affiliated baseball and softball programs for Tallmadge residents age four to 12. More than 400 kids presently participate.
While the baseball teams play at "The Hole," the softball teams use three fields at Maca Park.
The Little League also has a Challenger Division for the mentally and physically disabled in the area, which isn't restricted by city of residence.
The organization is accepting sponsorships for its field house project. Those who are interested are invited to contact Dominic Ciavolella at 330-618-1899.
MAP COURTESY OF THE CITY OF TALLMADGE
The Tallmadge Little League wants to build a field house for the use of its baseball and softball teams in the wooded area at Memorial Park on Wright Road, as shown at the bottom left of this map. If City Council approves an amended lease for the organization's use of the park, the field house would be constructed near the picnic shelter and playground, next to the ballfields known as "The Hole."