Over the past few weeks our community has celebrated some major milestones, including:
- The ground breaking of PrimeOhio II at I 70 and Route 41
- The opening of Champion City Industrial Park at the former IH Lagonda site.
- The long awaited grand opening of the NTPRD Chiller ice rink in downtown Springfield.
These important community projects are being added to a growing list of recent successes that are helping move Greater Springfield forward. With the press conference announcement this past week that the Champion City Kings will play baseball next season at Carleton Davidson Field, we have one more reason to believe that our community is on the path forward!
The Champion City Kings now becomes the newest member of the Prospect League, which is a collegiate summer baseball league consisting of 11 teams from 6 different states throughout the Midwest. The 28-member Kings roster will include top collegiate talent from around the country, and will play approximately 30 games at home between June and August of 2014. The owner, Ron Heineman, a venture capitalist from Westchester, Ohio, has hired local Major League Baseball pitcher Rick White to be the general manager of the team. The Kings hopes to put a good team on the field, and to create a minor league atmosphere with mascots and family friendly entertainment at an affordable price. Last year, 36 players from the Prospect League were drafted in the Major League Baseball draft.
One of my favorite Vince Lombardi quotes sums up how the Kings arrived in Springfield. It reads, “We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as impossible.” We first met with Ron Heineman in August on a tip from former Wittenberg athletic director and now at Cedarville University, Carl Schraibman to discuss the possibility of bringing the Kings to Springfield. The owner needed to find a home for the new team suitable to the Prospect League by October 1 in order to play baseball in 2014. After several meetings with key stakeholders, an agreement was drafted and signed making Springfield the new home of the Prospect League’s Champion City Kings.
Thanks to many people coming together with a “CAN DO” attitude, we have another investment in our community to be excited about. I want to personally thank Ron Heineman for taking a look at Springfield as a place to put this investment opportunity; Carl Schraibman for bringing this opportunity to Springfield; Leann Castillo and the National Trail Parks Board for seeing the opportunity and acting quickly to make it happen; Jay Lewis, Wittenberg Baseball Coach, for his vision and passion for Carleton Davidson Field and for his commitment to this opportunity; and to Rick White, Springfield’s own former Major League Baseball pitcher, who has chosen to invest in his hometown and will lead the new team.
Now, it is up to us. We simply need to support the Champion City Kings by taking the family out to the ball park for an enjoyable experience at an affordable price.
Have a great chamber day!