Shawnee approves repurposing abandoned Price Chopper into youth softball training center

Shawnee softball center

Local softball teams like KC Pride (a few team members pictured above) will soon be able to use a new indoor training facility at the site of an old Price Chopper in western Shawnee. The vacant store just west of K-7 Highway is being repurposed and aims to be opened by Thanksgiving. Photo credit Leah Wankum.

Youth and amateur softball players in Shawnee will soon get a new indoor training facility inside a former Price Chopper grocery store near K-7 Highway.

Top Tier Fieldhouse, a Shawnee-based sports training business, hopes to operate an indoor recreational facility inside the now-vacant grocery store that sits within the Oak Valley Shopping Center at 5600 Hedge Lane Terrace, off 55th Street just west of the highway.

Business partners Diane Waters and Eric Jones this week shared their excitement for the project, which is slated for completion in about a month.

Located in the Oak Valley Shopping Center, the new training facility is slated to open by Thanksgiving.

“We’re ecstatic,” Waters said. “I think this will open up more opportunities out there. We want to expand and grow, and I think this will provide a lot of opportunities for kids in the community, especially little girls softball and big girls softball, to develop and continue to grow.”

A long-time vision

Once built, the training facility will serve girls and women ages 5 to around 22. Waters expects to open the facility by Thanksgiving.

“We’re super excited; just the feedback we’ve gotten from the community out there so far has been astounding,” Jones said. “They’re super excited for what’s coming.”

After some councilmembers shared their support for the project, the Shawnee City Council on Monday unanimously approved a special use permit to allow the indoor recreational facility.

Business partners Diane Waters (left) and Eric Jones are leading the project.

“I want to give a special thanks to Diane Waters, a local resident who has been invested in our girls softball community for years,” said Councilmember Lisa Larson-Bunnell. “She had a vision to do this. She is taking an area that has really been underserved, I would say, in western Shawnee, and I’m so excited to have our local business owners take a chance on Shawnee.”

The grocery store building was constructed in 1998 and has been vacant for more than a decade, according to city documents.

“I just think this fits right in with everything we’re trying to do in becoming the… valley of champions,” said Councilmember Eric Jenkins, referring to a term many in Shawnee use to describe the Mid-America Sports Complex, further to the east of new training facility.

“I think it’s a great project, puts that old building to use,” he added.

Team members with KC Pride, a local softball team, also came out to show their support for the vote on Monday.