The southern port city of Busan will soon reach an agreement with the national governing body of professional baseball to build the sport's Hall of Fame, officials said on Saturday.
They said Busan, the nation's second-largest city, will sign a deal next month with the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) and the county of Kijang within the city to open the Hall of Fame by 2016.
Building the commemorative hall is part of the KBO's project to celebrate more than 100 years of baseball and 30-plus years of professional baseball in the country.
Baseball officials here say the sport was first played here in 1904. The KBO held its first season in 1982.
Jeju Island in the southern part of the country already operates a modest-sized baseball museum called the Korea Baseball Hall of Fame. Former KBO manager Lee Kwang-hwan first opened a small museum in 1995 with his personal collection of baseball memorabilia, including game-worn uniforms, gloves and bats, photos, videos, books and trophies. Then the city of Seogwipo on Jeju Island offered to build the hall to house Lee's possessions in 1998, but the place has no affiliation with the KBO.
Officials in Busan said their city has beat out the other candidate cities, Seoul and Incheon, located just west of the capital, to become the home of the Hall of Fame.
Under the agreement, Busan will be responsible for the construction of the hall while the KBO will handle its management, according to the officials. Kijang county will offer the real estate for the facilities free of charge and build a baseball-themed park in the area, they added.
Busan has proposed to erect a three-story building for the Hall of Fame, featuring an exhibition hall, a video room and a conference room, among other facilities. The Hall of Fame will be surrounded by the park, which will include half a dozen baseball stadiums and indoor practice facilities.
Officials said Busan will invest 11.5 billion won ($10.6 million) in the project while Kijang county will throw in another 22.3 billion won.
They added that the construction is scheduled to begin next year and the goal is to finish it by 2016. (Yonhap News)