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Pirates to help with youth ball field construction

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A grant program through the Pittsburgh Pirates called “Fields for Kids” will help local baseball or softball youth programs build or renovate their facilities.


Matching grants from $1,000 to $5,000 are available for the renovation or construction of baseball and/or softball fields used primarily by youngsters. The grants are available through Pirates Charities, the charitable arm of the Pirates, and were made possible by the Pirates’ annual golf tournament in February.


Eligible projects include the upgrading of field components such as new sod, the infield, fencing, dugouts, irrigation systems and upgrades to the overall facility, such as lights, bleachers, batting cages, scoreboards and concession stands. The purchase of land, parking lots, press boxes, restrooms and routine maintenance do not qualify.


Renovation and construction projects must be completed within one year from the date of the grant award.


The application deadline is April 1. Final grant determinations will be made by Pirate Charities in May. Send completed applications to Trevor Gooby, Senior Director of Florida Operations, Pirate City, 1701 27th St. E., Bradenton, FL 34208. (Application attached.)


The grant is open to any nonprofit tax-exempt organization, school or local government that operates youth baseball or softball programs within Manatee County. Any organization that has secured funds equal or greater to the amount requested may apply. Organizations must be governed by active boards, have sufficient revenues to operate their leagues and must prominently display signage recognizing Pirate Charities’ support if receiving a grant.


Past projects that benefited from proceeds raised during the golf tournament include a new baseball field at Norma Lloyd Park and a new computer lab and bus for the local Boys & Girls Club.


Multiple grants are available this year to assist baseball and softball fields, said Stacy Morgan, Sales & Marketing Coordinator for the Pirates’ Bradenton offices. The Pirates also expect this to be an annual program.


The Pirates have trained in Bradenton since 1969, the third longest relationship between a Major League Baseball team and a city in Florida’s spring training Grapefruit League. The Pirates’ southern offices are located in east Bradenton and their minor league affiliate, the Bradenton Marauders, will begin their second season in Bradenton next month.

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