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Demolition Paves Way for New Women’s Baseball Center

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Demolition is underway at a former Rockford business.  As an old building is torn down, a new one will go up to be a part of Rockford’s history.

Crews are demolishing the former J&M Plating building in the 1700 block of Magnolia Street on the city’s east side.  The plan is to build a one-of-a-kind women’s baseball center aimed.  The hope is it’ll attract thousands of female athletes to the Stateline.

“They are going to have a training center for women’s hardball, a training center for women’s empire school, and a museum for women’s baseball,” said Winnebago County Special Project Coordinator Jim Hughes.

Construction started in Fall 2016 after the former building owner donated the land.  Hughes believes the project will serve as a destination for women in baseball.  The site is right across the street from Beyer Stadium, where the Rockford Peaches used to play.  It’s also near Marinelli Field.

“Our goal is to have a green pathway all the way to Marinelli Field,” said Hughes.  “Someday, we hope women’s professional hardball will again resurrect.”

Ald. Karen Elyea says the project not only will bring athletes to the area, but revive the neighborhood as well.

“I think it will have a big impact on the neighborhood,” said Elyea.  “Having an old industrial building site like this cleaned up and made new again can only be good for the neighborhood.”

Helen Wyatt played for the Peaches in the 1940s.  She says she wishes many of her teammates could be alive to see the new facility.

“If [only] you knew how desperate our girls my age wanted to see something done right here in Rockford,” said Wyatt.  “This is great.”

The project is expected to be completed in the next two years.

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