Mount Prospect trustees Tuesday welcomed a new sports training business to the village.
The Ball Park in Mount Prospect will occupy an existing 11,120-square-foot building at 604 W. Central Road. The property includes a vacant office and warehouse building formerly occupied by Hines Lumber.
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The facility will offer seven tunnel batting cages, a physical training area and a pro shop and will be open Mondays through Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
It will offer baseball and softball training in particular, benefiting from the expertise of the majority owner, Ron Cacini, a Prospect High School graduate who went on to play professional baseball in the Houston Astros organization.
A partner in the business, Ken Strickland, also has baseball experience, having owned Play Ball USA in Des Plaines for six years.
Cacini noted he was returning to his hometown of Mount Prospect, pointing out that his girls would be going to Prospect, saying he was "looking forward to building a great instructional center for the kids."
The reaction of the trustees, who voted to approve the business plan, was favorable. Trustee Steven Polit couldn't help noting that here was another example of someone returning to the village where he was raised.
"We have so many of them," he said. "We are so lucky to have people that learn and grow and become so successful and they return to our community to help our children become great people also."
Trustee Arlene Juracek added, "We seem to have a lot of training facilities. Gymnastics, baseball."
Juracek, noting the traffic in the area, asked Strickland and Cacini whether most of the students will be driven in by their parents.
Cacini said the majority will be drop off. However, he said there might be students riding their bikes to the facility.
"I know that growing up at 104 S. Kenilworth, I used to ride my bike very fast to get to Meadows Park. I don't think that's going to be a big part of our business, because a lot of our business happens through winter."
He added, "I promote helmets. "
Cacini said the batting tunnels would be retractable so the students could practice fielding ground balls.
He said his goal is to work with all ages. "You're going to see professional athletes in there all the way down to beginning, young T-ballers."
"I work with 8-year-olds up to professional athletes," said Cacini, who added one of his clients is Adam Rosales, who plays with the Oakland Athletics.