Baseball fans unite as Marco Island’s premiere batting cage opens to the public.
The new facility is located at Winterberry Park, parallel to the baseball diamond. While anyone can use the practice cage, it’s the little leaguers who hold dominion.
It was husband and wife duo of Jennifer Carr and Eddie Kirst, Peter Prodanov, Shaun Chute and Alex Galiana who were the real heavy hitters when it came to getting the batting cage up and running. Through a combined effort, they were able organize and plan the construction, raise funds to the tune of $20,000 and garner local support from businesses and baseball lovers.
It all started two years ago when Peter Prodanov and Shaun Chute, both previous Gulf Coast Little League board members, got to work creatinga presentation proposing the batting cage for Marco Island City Council. The presentation outlined what they wanted to do and the cost and city council approved the project, provided the team raise the money needed to cover the costs.
“This was a project that was proposed to the city by the parents of the little league, where a lot of the kids play on the island,” said the city’s Recreation Administrative and Facilities Manager Alex Galiana.
Jennifer Carr’s husband Eddie Kirst has long wanted a batting cage for the little leaguers.
One day, a determined Jennifer said to herself, “I’m going to get the money.” She created a GoFundMe page and began getting the word out. Soon, funds from her friends, local businesses and anonymous donors began coming in. Over62 people donated over the course of over 10 months, amounting to the required $20,000.
“They were generous enough to believe in a project that I believed in,” Jennifer Carr said of the donors.
In his position with the city, Alex Galiana got to work coordinating the cage’s installation and making sure that all necessary permits were in place. Once hurricane season passed, they were ready to go. After two years of hard work and dedication, the cage was up in about two weeks.
“They paid for all of it so it didn’t cost the taxpayers anything,” said Alex Galiana. “The end result is that we add a great amenity to the ball field.”
The batting cage is open to the public, though the little leaguers do have priority. You can practice at 1400 Winterberry Dive.