Pittsburgh Pirates pitch in $75,000 for new Palmetto Little League fields

skennedy@bradenton.comDecember 17, 2013 

MANATEE -- Manatee County officials Tuesday formally accepted a $75,000 grant from a Pittsburgh Pirate-affiliated nonprofit for new Little League ballfields in Palmetto.

Trevor Gooby, speaking for the nonprofit Pirates Charities, appeared at the commission meeting, and said, "We’re beyond thrilled to assist.”

The Pirates hold spring training at McKechnie Field and Pirate City, both in Bradenton.

The money will be used to help build Little League ballfields at Blackstone Park.

The ballfields are currently under construction, and are slated for completion before the fall 2014 baseball season starts, officials said.

The almost $3.3 million project calls for three new regulation Little League fields, a parking lot, a press box and concession building, bleachers, sidewalks, lighting and associated infrastructure at Blackstone Field, east and north of the Blackstone Park softball fields.

In addition to the Pirates' grant, the county will pay for the project using Parks and Natural Resources Department impact fees and an $800,000 contribution from the city of Palmetto.

The league's former ballfields were eliminated after the city sold the land to the Manatee County School Board for construction of a new Palmetto Elementary School.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.com.

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