By Chris Bavender
Nearly seven months after Zionsville was named one of five finalists for the new home of Little League International’s Central Region Headquarters, the town has received news that it’s on the short list. The community is one of three sites still in the running, along with Plainfield and Matteson, Ill.
“It’s been almost a two-year process to reach this point, and given all of the competing bids Little League International received, it’s a testament to the quality of the community that Little League International would select us to be in the top three from the 13-state region,” said Mike Rinebold, Zionsville Little League president.
Kevin Fountain, director of media relations for Little League International, said the three communities “offer adequate facilities, strong infrastructure and a supporting community that appreciates and understands the ideals of Little League.”
Financial support for the effort is crucial. To that end, ZLL is asking the community to pledge its support for the facility.
“A few (members) of the Zionsville Local Organizing Committee visited the Southeast Region to speak with representatives there about the last time Little League International moved a regional headquarters, and we learned what helped their community win the bid,” Rinebold said. “We have incorporated that knowledge into our bid, and the continued requests for financial support is a key part of that strategy, starting with the individual donations and also involving support from area businesses.”
Landing the Central Region headquarters would give ZLL four more fields with full-time access. It would also include the addition of a stadium field with 2,500 seats and a hill in the background that could accommodate another 2,000 to 2,500 fans.
With the final push under way, Rinebold said ZLL will continue to represent the community, Boone County and the northwest greater Indianapolis area as “one of the leading locations to call home” and stressed the bid to land the facility has been a regional effort to ensure LLI has the “best possible experience for generations to come.”
“None of this would be possible without the support of the Town Council of Zionsville and Mayor (Tim) Haak,” Rinebold said. “And to my point of regional support, this project has brought together the support of Zionsville and Whitestown through their town council and Town Manager Dax Norton and Lebanon’s Mayor Matt Gentry.”
Fountain said a decision on the new location will likely be made by the end of the year.