BYAA Lands Property For Sports Complex
The Bourbon Youth Athletic Association (BYAA) announced March 7 that it has acquired 38 acres of property in the city limits to develop a sports complex that will finally give young athletes their own space.
The announcement was made during the Warhawks Athletics Booster Club’s first-ever Blue & White Night.
BYAA President Justin Blanton called it a huge leap forward for the organization, the future of youth sports in Bourbon and the city.
“There were a lot of people involved in this,” Blanton said. “We got started around two years ago and looked at several different places.”
The property is across from the high school baseball field, on the opposite side of Old Springfield Road. It spans all the way to Interstate 44.
Blanton said it will take some time to develop the property, but he anticipates work beginning soon to give the youth baseball and softball teams space to practice for the upcoming season.
In addition to ball fields, BYAA plans to add soccer fields, indoor hitting/pitching facilities, indoor facilities for basketball and volleyball, a community track and an area with picnic tables.
Down the line, Blanton hopes to add a swim park.
BYAA envisions the sports complex giving Bourbon the opportunity to host youth sports tournaments, which will bring visitors for weekend events that benefit restaurants and gas stations here.
It took months for the BYAA to raise the money for the down payment. They held fundraisers and applied for grants and as Blanton said, built friendly bridges with the seller.
“We were in contact for a good year,” he said. “We let her know our vision.”
Blanton said the number of athletes participating in BYAA has doubled in recent years and as a result, they have outgrown the high school facilities.
When the Crawford County R-1 School Board voted to move softball from the fall to the spring, it affected BYAA’s softball practice schedule. Blanton said they got a later start to practices.
With a sports complex, Blanton believes BYAA can generate more enthusiasm for participation among Bourbon’s youth.
“Many of the kids in our community come from lower-income households,” he said. “These kids not only need sports, but guidance and role models. They need more mentors.”
Playing sports can be a positive outlet and give them something to do after school, Blanton said.
“Sports can lead a child’s life in an amazing direction and develop skills. We can mentor them and hopefully give them an opportunity for success,” he said.