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Former MLB All-Star Park Chan-ho to build baseball complex in S. Korea
SUWON, South Korea, Feb. 4 (Yonhap) -- Former Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star pitcher Park Chan-ho will open a baseball complex named after himself, the first of its kind in the country.

   Park on Monday signed an agreement with Gyeonggi Province and the city of Dongducheon in Gyeonggi to open "Mt. Soyo Park Chan-ho Baseball Park" in Dongducheon, located some 40 kilometers north of Seoul. Mt. Soyo Baseball Park Inc., a company established to oversee the project, was also a signatory to the agreement. Both the baseball complex and the company bear the name of a mountain located in Dongducheon.

   The signing ceremony took place in the office of Gyeonggi Province in Suwon, south of Seoul.

   Park, 39, retired last November after 19 seasons in MLB, Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball (NBP) and finally the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) in his native land. The 2001 National League All-Star for the Los Angeles Dodgers had 124 wins in the majors, the most by an Asian pitcher in the big leagues.

   He said he has long wanted to work at the grassroots level of baseball.

  
From left: Oh Sae-chang, mayor of Dongducheon; Kim Moon-soo, governor of Gyeonggi Province; Park Chan-ho, retired baseball star; and Park Moon-chang, a local entrepreneur, pose for pictures on Feb. 4, 2014, after reaching an agreement to build a baseball complex in Dongducheon named after Park Chan-ho. (Yonhap)


"After retiring from baseball, I've dreamed of something I could do for my country, for my fans and for young baseball players," Park said. "It's exciting to have the opportunity to realize that dream through this agreement."

   Under the plan, the baseball park will include multiple baseball stadiums, other sports facilities and accommodations on 330,000 square meters of land in Dongducheon. The project is expected to cost 33 billion won (US$30.2 million).

   The main stadium will have about 2,000 seats. There will be six additional baseball stadiums. A batting cage will have 50 batter's boxes, and the park will also include two indoor practice facilities.

   The complex will also include a dormitory for baseball camps and sporting goods stores.

   Under the agreement signed Monday, Gyeonggi Province and Dongducheon will provide administrative assistance. Mt. Soyo Baseball Park Inc. will be charged with running the construction project. Park will lend his portrait rights to the project.

   Most of the land on which the baseball complex will be built is owned by Park Moon-chang, an acquaintance of Park Chan-ho who founded Mt. Soyo Baseball Park Inc. last September.

   The complex is expected to be finished by April next year.

   jeeho@yna.co.kr
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