Troy’s purchase of 118 acres to expand the city’s Paul G. Duke Park is helping bring closer to reality the dream of a Miracle League baseball field for children and adults with disabilities.
The nonprofit Miracle League of the Miami Valley has been in the works for around 18 months, incorporated this spring and is part of a national Miracle League organization.
The group has kept a low profile while talking to potential supporters of an upcoming $800,000 fundraising effort because it needed a field location, said organization board members Bobby Phillips, Melissa Nichols and Penny Hoekstra.
The closest Miracle League fields are Springboro and Dublin. This field would be open to people across the region.
The project purpose is to provide children and adults with disabilities the opportunity to experience the joy, benefits and complete family experience that come with baseball, said Nichols, a board member who works at Riverside Developmental Disabilities in Troy.
A playground with handicapped accessible equipment would accompany the Miracle League baseball field. While other sites were scouted, they did not have accompanying Little League fields, a key element of the Miracle League mission.
Phillips, board president, said the Miracle League would partner with Troy Junior Baseball, which plans to relocate its fields to the expanded park.
This would provide “that complete picture for people with all levels of ability” to come to one place to play, he said.
“We want these kids to go and watch their siblings play ball. We want them to go to these fields and play ball themselves,” said Hoekstra, board secretary.
This project picked up pace when the city was approached about possibly expanding Duke Park to adjacent farmland for added recreational space for the city and Miami County Park District.
Junior Baseball fields, the Miracle League and other uses are being explored. Phillips said organizations would be doing fundraising.
The city paid $1.5 million for the land, saying it anticipated grants would cover much of that cost. Two grants totaling $600,000 were announced Sept. 4.
Community involvement will be vital in the Miracle League, Hoekstra said. A game is two innings with each child accompanied by a buddy who helps them take the field, go around the bases and score.
The Miracle League of the Miami Valley can be contacted via Facebook at www.facebook.com/miracleleagueofthemiamivalley. National Miracle League information is available online at www.miracleleague.com/.