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Play Ball

Little League Central Region Headquarters Comes to Whitestown

Writer / Seth Johnson
Photography Provided

Little League

Little League Baseball and Softball now has a new home for its Central Region Headquarters right here in Boone County.

Located on South Indianapolis Road in Whitestown, the Central Region Headquarters will now serve as the Midwest’s Little League home, hosting the Little League Softball regional tournament every July and Little League Baseball regional tournament every August. These tournaments are shown on ESPN and feature teams from the 13 states that make up the Little League Central Region.

Founded in 1939 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Little League International first began developing regional headquarters across the country as the youth sports program grew and developed.

“As it expanded across the country, there was really the need to develop regional service centers with staff that were able to assist with customer service,” explains Nina Johnson-Pitt, senior strategy executive with Little League International and former Central Region director. “As our tournaments continued to grow, we also needed to have facilities that could accommodate.”

Currently, there are five U.S. Little League headquarters. These include the East Region Headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, the West Region Headquarters in San Bernardino, California, the Southeast Region Headquarters in Warner Robins, Georgia, the Southwest Region Headquarters in Waco, Texas, and the Central Region Headquarters in Whitestown.

Formerly, the Central Region Headquarters had been located in Indianapolis at 42nd Street and Mitthoeffer Road, Johnson-Pitt explains, but a few factors eventually prompted Little League officials to look for a new home in the Midwest.

Little League“It was a really large piece of property, and because our footprint really could’ve been smaller, the maintenance of up-keeping that property didn’t make a lot of sense,” Johnson-Pitt says. “The second piece of that, unfortunately, was that area of Indianapolis really started to deteriorate. 42nd and Mitthoeffer is a very high-crime area, so we didn’t feel comfortable continuing to bring people in from outside of the area, having them play games in the evenings into dark.”

After selling their former property to Cathedral High School, where it is still used for athletic purposes, Little League International began the search for a new home, inviting communities across the Central Region’s 13 states to make their proposals. Through this process, four communities emerged as finalists.

“It ended up being four main players, and most of them were in central Indiana,” Johnson-Pitt says. “There was one community just outside of Chicago that was interested. Here locally, there was Zionsville, Plainfield, and for a while Westfield had some interest in incorporating us into Grand Park as part of their proposal. When we really started to dig into those four, Westfield removed themselves and determined that wasn’t going to be the right fit for us, so we were left with the three.”

Following site visits to each of the three finalists, Little League International eventually landed on Zionsville to be their Central Region home. However, these plans would soon change.

“We made that announcement and started to move forward with the proposed property in Zionsville,” Johnson-Pitt says. “Due to some concern from some of the neighbors in that area, we made the determination to actually remove ourselves from that property in Zionsville. We didn’t really want to be in an area where we weren’t welcome and wanted, so it was just the best choice for us to remove ourselves from that situation.”

With help from the Zionsville Local Organizing Committee (ZLOC), Little League International began looking for a new home for their Central Region Headquarters in the Boone County area.

“Through some conversations within Boone County, [the ZLOC] was able to talk to Dax Norton, the town manager at the time in Whitestown, and put together some options for us here in Boone County,” Johnson-Pitt says. “We had a couple of options and felt like this area here off of Indianapolis Road was going to be the best fit for us, so here we are.”

Little LeagueFollowing a year of construction, leaders celebrated the opening of the Central Region Headquarters in Whitestown with a ribbon-cutting event on June 26. The new complex features the Central Region Headquarters administration building, a gift shop, a concessions stand, restrooms and batting cages, as well as a full-size, lighted Little League field with stadium seating, bleachers and a press box.

In addition to marquee Central Region tournaments, Johnson-Pitt says the Central Region Headquarters will host other special events and tournaments. Additionally, she hopes the facility can also service needs in the local Boone County community.

“We’ve always been a really good partner to others in the community,” Johnson-Pitt says. “For example, at the previous regional center, we worked with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office to allow them to use the facility for training, like Badges Without Borders. We’re certainly open to working with other nonprofits in the area that may need some meeting space, just to be a good neighbor.”

Ultimately, Johnson-Pitt and her colleagues at Little League International hope to shine a light on the community of Whitestown as a whole with the new Central Region Headquarters.

“We’re going to get a lot of great media coverage on ESPN,” Johnson-Pitt says. “They always do a nice job of talking about the towns they’re in. It should be a really nice national spotlight for Whitestown, in addition to the families that come in from outside the area. We want to give Whitestown an economic opportunity, and for those families that come in to be able to see a really nice Midwestern town, where folks are friendly and supportive.”

The Little League Central Region Headquarters is located at 7185 South Indianapolis Road in Whitestown. You can reach them at 317-897-6127, and visit their website at littleleague.org/region/central-region.

Little League

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