Ready for another ‘Miracle’Published 11:00pm Friday, November 9, 2012
The Miracle Field opened at the Troy Sportsplex on July 7, 2011, a cloudy, rainy day that marked the culmination of years of dreaming, hard-work and fundraising.
Miraculously, it seemed, as the opening ceremonies drew near the weather cleared and, by the end of the afternoon, a rainbow stretched across the Troy horizon – a sign of hope and a renewal of blessings for the thousands of people who joined in the Miracle Field vision.
Since that night, hundreds of pitches have been thrown on the Miracle Field, to the delight of players, parents, fans and friends. And Brian Meadows is just one of the many people who want to make sure those smiles continue.
As an employee with the Troy Parks and Recreation Department, he is spreading the word about joint efforts between the Troy Exchange Club and Troy University to raise funds to add a Miracle League approved playground to the Sportsplex.
“When you see the Miracle Field itself and what it is … Well, I’ve played baseball all my life but now I see kids who never had that chance have the opportunity to play,” he said. “This playground will just extend that.
“Instead of making these kids feel different, this will be a playground that lets them play with kids or have no handicaps. It will just let them feel like a kid.”
The Parks and Rec Department, led by Director Dan Smith, is spearheading the efforts to raise another $90,000 to fund a new, all-inclusive playground at the Sportsplex. More than $110,000 is already committed to the project, from local donations; the City of Troy; and a grant from the Land Water Conservation Fund.
Smith said the playground will incorporate the same types of surfaces found on the Miracle Field – rubberized safety surfaces accessible to all children, whether able-bodied in or wheelchairs. “The playground is really just the first phase of a plan that will eventually include an extension of the existing Sportsplex walking trail, a new pavilion, trees and open areas for families to gather.
Volunteers began working on the project six months ago and their goal is to have the playground open for children by May 2013.
“That means a lot of fundraising between now and then,” said Lisa Holmes, another TPRD employee.
The goal for now is simply to spread the word: to let the community and businesses know about the project and to encourage them to participate in upcoming fundraisers. And to build the same support and enthusiasm that turned the dream of a Miracle Field into reality.
I think we’re ready for another “Miracle.”
Stacy G. Graning is publsiher of The Messenger. Contact her at email@example.com.