$4 Million Replica Fields Planned for Romeoville

The proposed facility will host tournaments for teams from across the country

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Gerry Images / Johnathan Daniels
    Little leaguers could play on a smaller version of US Cellular.

    They'll call it Replica Fields for a reason.

    A proposed $4 million youth baseball facility in Romeoville would feature scaled-down copies of five Major League Baseball fields for kids to play on. The complex would reside on Lewis University property and include all the latest amenities.

    Little leaguers would be treated to phones in the dugouts, live Internet updates on the games, cable television coverage and game DVDs available for sale, the Tribune reports.  Families would also receive discounted Sox, Cubs and Joliet JackHammers tickets.

    The ball fields could be constructed as soon as Fall 2010 if everyone involved gets their act together.

    The replica fields will not be free of charge.

    Each player and coach will pay $750 a day to play in mini replicas of U.S. Cellular Field, Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium and Minute Maid Park.  In return, Lewis University will lease the 20 acres on which the facility will be built, and provide housing in student dorms, meals and educational opportunities, said Wayne Draudt, Lewis executive vice president.

    "We'll offer a fantastic experience that will make them want to come back," said Larry Gould of ML&B.  "There are 10 million kids playing baseball from ages 9 to 16. That's a big market. We'll be able to host 102 teams a week."

    To build Replica Fields, Romeoville would sell $4 million in bonds and retain ownership, said Steve Gulden, Village Manager. ML&B would make $320,000 lease payments annually for 25 years, the Chicago Tribune reports.