SCHOOLCRAFT, Mich. (WOOD) — The Southwest Michigan Miracle League has completed its field, which is designed to be accessible to kids with special needs.
The nonprofit began construction this summer after raising more than $800,000 for phase one of the project, which included the field, parking, dugouts and seating.
The facility is located next to the Dome Sports Center in Schoolcraft, south of Kalamazoo.
According to board president Jud Hoff, the organization hopes to field 10 teams to start the league.
“All the benefits that sports provide kids. We want to ensure the entire community of children have that same opportunity. In this area, there are 4,000 to 5,000 children that could have the opportunity to be out here and be a part of a team and compete,” Hoff said.
The field is a barrier-free design made of a rubberized material, making it accessible to children in wheelchairs.
Many contractors donated their time and materials to keep down the cost of the project, but building a field to this standard is not an inexpensive process. Phase one cost more than $800,000.
“We are ready to start using the field, obviously, in the current environment with COVID being present, we’re not running a league this fall. We will hope to open up and get the kids on the field in the spring,” Hoff said.
Youth board president Grace Cheatham will serve as a buddy, who are paired with each player during the game.
“I think that this is a great thing for Kalamazoo. I think it will be an opportunity to bring a lot of people here and show that our community does care,” Cheatham said.
The group is working to raise an additional $200,000 for the second part of the project, which will cover expenses for lighting, landscaping, an additional sidewalk and wheelchair accessible bathrooms.
If you would like to make a donation to the project, you can visit the Southwest Michigan Miracle League website.