Sports complex coming to Meriden
by Clarke Davis
For those who want to continue honing their batting and pitching skills through the winter months there will soon be the perfect place. Barry and Michelle White will break ground in a short time on a sports complex at Meriden.
What will be known as K-4 Sports will house a full-scale indoor infield for playing ball with an adjacent building for pitching and batting practice. A golf simulator will also be included.
The complex will be located on the north side of 74th Street just a few yards east of the bank corner off K-4 highway.
The Whites will serve as their own general contractor and Heinen Custom Operations, Valley Falls, will put up the two steel buildings.
One will measure 120-by-120 feet while the batting cages and pitching lanes will be located in a separate, but connected building measuring 50-by-200 feet.
The infield dirt will be covered with turf for baseball and softball. Portable pitching mounds will be provided.
The couple along with Kelly Midgley, who will manage the facility, will hold a formal groundbreaking ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7.
The couple said there will be plenty of versatility built into the complex for added features and activities. A few ideas include exercise and dance classes and speed and agility training. The complex will also serve as a place for private parties and get-togethers of various sorts.
A rate structure will be established that will accommodate individual walk-ins to monthly memberships for singles, families, groups, and teams.
Barry and Michelle have owned and operated Five Star Masonry LLC for the past 10 years. They purchased 60 acres of land in December with their first thought being to establish an office and shop headquarters for Five Star and then Barry came up with the idea of including the sports complex.
Construction on the Five Star building will get underway in a few weeks. In addition, they want to attract more commercial properties behind the sports complex over time to replace the soybeans now growing there.
As he was developing plans for K-4 Sports, its future popularity was never in much doubt. He noted the license tags in the parking lot at a similar south Topeka business were nearly half from Atchison, Jefferson, and Jackson counties.
The couple have three children attending Jefferson West schools. Macy is a junior, Eli, a freshman, and Rylee is a sixth-grader. Barry has been involved in coaching Rylee’s softball games for a few years and Michelle is a basketball coach for sixth-graders.
Michelle is an Ellsworth native while Barry grew up in Kansas City. Soccer was his sport, which he went on to play at Allen County Community College. Michelle was involved in track, volleyball, and basketball in high school and went on to play basketball at Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny, Iowa.
The couple first met at an Ottawa church camp when they were in the sixth- or seventh-grade and continued their friendship until adulthood.
Michelle said the friendship was maintained the old-fashioned way — writing letters.
Barry said construction on the sports complex will probably stretch over four months or longer.
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