May 20 2014 ISN – The International Softball Federation (ISF) is embarking on a drive to raise funds for the creation of the sport’s Hall of Fame and Museum in the United States.
Plans for the facility formed part of the original project when softball’s world governing body moved its headquarters to Plant City, Florida, in 2000, but these had to be shelved and additional revenues sought.
The development, which is estimated to cost $1,9 million (£1.1 million/€1.4 million), was also hit when the sport was dropped from the Olympic programme following the Beijing 2008 Games, but, according to ISF Honorary President Don Porter, preparations are soon to be underway.
“The several campaigns trying to regain Olympic status took a considerable amount of our available revenue,” he told insidethegames.
“Thus with most of the campaign activity since the IOC (International Olympic Committee) Session in Buenos Aires now on hold, we [the ISF] felt that we need to move ahead and start actively seeking funding for the Hall of Fame and Museum project.
“We will be making a number of presentations to various entities including local and state Government and chamber of commerce contacts as well as foundations that support museum projects.”
The Hall of Fame and Museum will house historic softball memorabilia from the Olympics, World Championships and other major international competitions, and will feature famous athletes, coaches, umpires, administrators and sponsors.
It will also have electronic games that will allow visitors to “play” against world champion and Olympic pitchers, as well as movies of past competitions, including the Olympics.
Porter claimed its partner sport in the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), baseball, will also play a role.
He hopes to see Major League Baseball games coming to Florida during spring training, with exhibition games used for fundraising.
“With many softball and baseball events, both domestic and international, at the [Plant City] complex we believe that the Hall of Fame and Museum adjacent to the complex will attract a lot of people and provide for some economic impact for the community of Plant City,” he added.