Summit County’s newindoor baseball facility a boost for youth sports
Youth baseball in Summit County will take a giant leap forward this winter with the opening of a roughly 10,000-square-foot indoor training facility on the lower level of the shopping center on Main Street in downtown Dillon.
“There is no place like this in the mountains,” said Summit Extreme youth league baseball president Bill Falcone. “This is an exciting project happening in Summit County.”
The $135,000 Summit Baseball Academy is the result of a combined effort among Summit Extreme, the American Legion baseball league, Summit Youth Baseball and Softball and local sponsors.
Falcone said they were able to establish the facility through volunteer labor hours, donations, sponsorships and the fundraising efforts of the three baseball organizations and the community.
Located downstairs in the same shopping center as Lakeside Bowl, the renovated facility occupies a former commercial space.
Falcone said the space had been vacant since condos were built on the upper levels of the building. At the time builders had to reinforce the building’s superstructure and simply left piles of dirt, rebar and other construction material in the space when they’d finished.
“We took out 10 truckloads of rubble,” Falcone said of the extensive renovation efforts.
Now the space includes four batting cages and two tunnels that can used for pitching or batting practice. Additional space includes an area for pitching and batting drill stations.
Board members from the clubs were scheduled to meet Wednesday evening, Nov. 13, to work on final plans for facility operations and a ribbon-cutting ceremony expected in the next few weeks.
“The facility is an asset to the entire community and is now the home of Summit County baseball and softball,” Falcone said.
He and fellow board members are discussing plans to make the facility available to the public a few nights a week.
He said they also plan to open the facility to other regional clubs, from Steamboat Springs to Vail and as far away as Buena Vista and Salida, since there are no comparable facilities outside of the Front Range.
“We plan to market the facility as a regional hub,” he said.
Previously the Summit Extreme teams had to travel to the Front Range to use similar facilities. Falcone said Summit teams have traveled as far as Fort Collins to train indoors.
“We just scraped by,” he said. “To have a place like this is just a dream come true.”
While the Summit Extreme teams will be the facility’s primary users, other clubs, including the Summit High School baseball team, will use it, too.
Falcone essentially described the facility as a monumental achievement for area youth baseball programs.
Falcone said the facility will offer a variety of youth baseball training programs and camps year-round. He said some instructors involved with the programs even have professional baseball experience.
Organizers expect to make a grand opening announcement in the coming weeks.
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