CGI to donate hefty sum to Miracle Field

Published 7:06 pm Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Standing on the Sportsplex Field 3, one can almost picture it.

Instead of dirt and grass, there will be brown and green rubber covering the surface of the ball field. The dugouts will be pushed out to accommodate more players and handicap equipment.

And while some might call a field meeting such a description just a different looking baseball field, those who know better will simply call it a miracle.

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Thanks to Troy’s newest industry CGI, locals will soon be able to call the Sportsplex Field 3 just that — a “Miracle Field.”

After three years of working toward the goal, the Lion’s Club sponsored Miracle League project will at last come to fruition with a $50,000 contribution CGI plans to announce officially Friday.

“There have been many, many contributions, from small to large, and everyone is equally important,” said Troy Parks and Recreation Director Dan Smith. “This generous contribution by CGI has pushed the fundraising to the point that we are going to be able to break ground.”

The Miracle League project gives children and adults with disabilities the chance to play baseball.

The concept uses an able-bodied person to assist in whatever each player may need help with, whether that is batting, running bases or catching.

“We’re getting closer and closer to seeing those smiles,” said Angel Carlson, Lion’s Club president.

Carlson said the club taking on this project had a two-fold goal: to give back to the community and to build its membership.

“Troy has always been a big baseball town, and not having a Miracle Field seemed outlandish,” Carlson said. “So we had to bring one in.”

Local CGI Director of Operations George Tarbox said the gift to the Miracle Field is part of what the company had hoped to do all along.

“CGI wants to be a partner in the community where we are,” Tarbox said, while on his way back from doing work on behalf of CGI on the Gulf Coast. “It’s really part of our corporate DNA.”

Tarbox said CGI’s desire to be a corporate sponsor led the company to the Miracle Field project.

“Miracle League does some great things, not just for kids but adults,” he said. “As a corporation we can make an impact.”

Smith said with this large contribution, on top of an already $100,000 donation from Sen. Wendell Mitchell, the estimated $225,000 project will be under construction as early as next month. Further, Smith said the field will be ready for play in Spring 2011.

“I think it’s wonderful its about to come to fruition,” said Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford.

“It’s a segment of the population that can now be served with baseball, and I think it will be something welcome in the community. You’ll see an outpouring in the community.”

Smith said there are more than 350 children in the city limits with disabilities and more than 1,000 in Pike County. But, he expects children from across the region will come to Troy to play ball.

Lunsford said the city of Troy decided to become a contributor of the project, in choosing to donate the existing field, cutting down significantly on the costs.

“I think it’s important to make it part of the Sportsplex complex so participants aren’t isolated,” Lunsford said.

The public is encouraged to attend the ceremony Friday, which will take place at 11 a.m. Friday at the city’s Sportsplex. The dress will be casual for the event.