Washington Nationals Dream Foundation Breaks Ground on Youth Baseball Academy
Tuesday’s sweltering heat didn’t stop the Washington Nationals from celebrating the official groundbreaking for the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy in Fort DuPont Park. Expected to be completed in the Summer of 2012, the Youth Baseball Academy will be comprised of three baseball fields, and a state-of-the-art athletic and educational facility with classrooms, community rooms, a teaching kitchen and indoor training facilities.
Emceed by MASN play-by-play announcer Bob Carpenter, the groundbreaking ceremony featured a variety of dignitaries, including Washington Nationals Dream Foundation Chair Marla Lerner Tanenbaum; DC Mayor Vincent Gray; Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton; DC Council Chair Kwame Brown; Mickey Fearn from the National Park Service; DC Councilmember Yvette Alexander; William H. Hall and Greg O’Dell from the Washington Convention and Sports Authority and Kimball Elementary School Principal Sheil’a West-Miller.
Nationals Executive Vice President and General Manager Mike Rizzo and shortstop Ian Desmond were also among those who spoke about their enthusiasm to provide children with the life skills necessary to become better students, better athletes and better citizens. Other players in attendance to lend their support to the historic event included Danny Espinosa, Jerry Hairston Jr., Adam LaRoche, and Drew Storen who took time out to play catch with children from Kimball Elementary School and Sousa Middle School, the two schools that border the Academy.
With a strong sense of excitement and anticipation for the Academy and its future benefits to the children of Ward 7, dignitaries joined members of the Lerner family and the Nationals to break ground, officially commemorating the beginning of construction of the Youth Baseball Academy.
The ceremony was a culmination of more than five years of planning, fundraising and collaboration between the Nationals and their political, civic and community partners. Modeled on the successful Harlem RBI program, the Academy will provide the children of Ward 7 the guidance, resources and support necessary to become resilient adults.
The Nationals look forward to the bright future that lies ahead.