Midland to build a "Miracle Field" for people with disabilities

Published: Feb. 18, 2020 at 6:08 PM EST
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(2/18/2020) - The City of Midland is bringing a miracle to its community by building a "Miracle Field" for children and adults with disabilities.

The field is a soft-surfaced baseball diamond for athletes who have disabilities and is universally accessible.

For kids like 12-year-old Carson Leonard, who has cerebral palsy, the field will give them the chance to play baseball barrier-free.

Carson has been playing in a league with other children with disabilities for a few years and he said he loves baseball.

"Just seemed like a fun sport," he said. "I watched it a lot and I just really like it. I really like the game."

Marcie Post, the recreation manager for the City of Midland, said that the city has been working on this project since last year.

She said there is a huge need in the community for a field like this.

"There's such a need for it and you don't realize it until you start talking about it," she said. "And you meet kids like Carson who they've been playing out on a traditional baseball field and there are some barriers."

Post said the field will be used for baseball and other recreational activities.

"It'll offer both kids and adults with special needs or a disability to be able to play baseball with us," she said. "The beautiful thing about this field is that unlike a traditional baseball field, there are no barriers to play. So there's no bases that are raised that maybe a wheelchair or mobility device could get caught up on."

The city's parks and recreation department will run the Middle of the Mitt Miracle League, which will offer a spring and fall league each year.

The league will use a "buddy system" that is designed to pair each player with a community volunteer to help them on the field. It will also allow each parent and family member the chance to watch and cheer from the stands.

"We realized that parents who have a child with a disability are often so busy care taking that they don't get to enjoy the regular activities that some of the other parents do," Post said.

The project will cost an estimated $1.6 million.

Post said that the city has launched a crowdfunding initiative to raise $50,000. This campaign will receive a matching $50,000 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation if the campaign reaches its funding goal.

Donations are being accepted on the City of Midland's website until April 3.

"I just think how blessed are we that we live in Midland? So it's going to happen and it's going to be fantastic," Post said.

Construction on the field is expected to begin this spring. It will be built in Midland at Central Park. First pitch could happen as soon as September.

Carson said he is excited to have a park like this in his own backyard.

"Even if kids have disabilities, they can still do what they like," he said.

The city is looking for coaches, players, and other volunteers to be part of the league. For more information, contact the city's park and recreation department at 989-837-6936.