Fort Wayne City Council OKs $600,000 for youth baseball lighting

The World Baseball Academy was dedicated in October and will begin hosting games this year. (Courtesy image)

It appears a local youth baseball facility will be getting some cash from the city’s Legacy fund after all — if not as much as originally hoped.

By a 7-1 vote, City Council gave preliminary approval Tuesday to the World Baseball Academy’s $600,000 request, which will be used to install lights for the complex that was dedicated last October in the ASH Centre, 1701 Freeman St. Council could finalize the approval next week, and six votes are needed to approve spending from the fund created by the sale of the city’s former electric utility.

The academy requested $800,000 in Legacy funding in 2014, and the proposal was approved by the city’s Joint Legacy Funding Committee but never ratified by council. The academy serves more than 4,000 boys and girls each year. Lights would increase use of the fields by 33 percent and economic impact by $5.3 million over 10 years, backers say. About $2.8 million has already by collected for the first phase of the academy’s development.

The council resolution authorizing Legacy funding states the project would help promote not only youth sports but also downtown and economic development.