Group asks Cal Ripken to build youth sports complex in Saginaw - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Group asks Cal Ripken to build youth sports complex in Saginaw

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SAGINAW (WJRT) -

(02/20/13) - Saginaw has seen its fair share of troubles lately, dealing with a budget deficit and talks of cuts to public safety.

One group is asking one of baseball's greatest players to bring something positive to the Mid-Michigan community.  It's a story you will only see on ABC 12.

Cal Ripken is one of baseball's greatest players, and now spends a lot of time with youth baseball programs and facilities. Now, a former Saginaw resident is hoping he builds one here.

Delores McKinney owns a Maryland-based construction company called Eminence Group, but she also wants to help Saginaw rebuild. She is part of a non-profit community group called New ERA. Its goal is to bring economic development to Saginaw.

"We need jobs, we need tax revenue, we need things that are going to bring dollars to this community and that is what is going to assist in its recovery," McKinney said.

McKinney believes baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Junior can assist in that recovery. The New ERA group has reached out to Ripken Baseball and its design group to build a youth sports complex in Saginaw.

Ripken Baseball has two youth facilities, one near Baltimore and the other in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. McKinney says Ripken Baseball is especially interested in helping at-risk children.

"This is youth travel sports. Ripken's average participant comes from three to six hours away, so we are going to bring dollars outside of the community, into the community, they will be utilizing the hotels and restaurants," McKinney said.

With Michigan's short summers, the Ripken Design Group would also decide on a winter sport to compliment the facility, either hockey or basketball. McKinney hopes to fund the project similar the way the Maryland facility was built.

"A third from Maryland that was given by the state, there was a third donated, and a third was financed," she said.

Ripken Baseball did confirm that its group will be coming to Saginaw on March 4 to begin a feasibility study, which would take 60 to 90 days. Cal Ripken himself will not be coming for this first visit.

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