A Win at the Ball Park
They're looking for a win at the ball park, but not just in baseball. A local baseball academy has been contracted by Alachua County to manage the Jonesville Park Ball Field Complex in Northwest Gainesville.
This partnership is designed to help the business, the county and the community. Owner of Gatorball Baseball Academy Stephen Barton said, "I think baseball in this area is huge. There's a lot of baseball players that are looking for a program to take their game to the next level."
Barton wants these local players to come to the Jonesville Ball Park and the Gatorball Baseball Academy. It's an exciting opportunity for Barton, who started Gatorball in 2006 after playing at the University of Florida.
It's also exciting for Alachua County. Parks Superintendent Robert Avery said, "When you program a facility, it brings people in, you're advertising, you're marketing." The goal is to bring a lot more activity to this $1 million, four field ball complex. Barton said, "Being able to manage those fields out there, one it gives our program a huge resource to be able to train our athletes in a top notch facility and also gives the community an environment to come and play and reserve fields at their convenience."
Gatorball will be in charge of scheduling fields, concessions and some maintenance for the next three years. The four fields: two softball and two baseball, will be available through Gatorball to local teams for a fee.
It's always open to the general public for pick up games, unless theres a tournament. Which Barton hopes to bring a lot of since they already offer travel baseball to their players. He said, "We obviously have a strong base for teams outside of our area to bring in to host tournaments."
And Avery says that brings money into the county, while raising the profile and use of the facility. It worked with the other aspects of Jonesville Park, both the soccer and tennis facilities were developed and managed by local organizations.
For Barton and Gatorball, it means growth for the academy. A win win on and off the field.
For more information visit http://www.gatorballtraining.com/ or http://www.alachuacounty.us/Depts/PW/parksAndRecreation/Pages/ParksandRecreation.aspx.
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