Columbia County – Will it build a Miracle Field where all the children can play?
Columbia County, FL (Posted November 21, 2011 07:15 am)
During last Wednesday's Columbia County Tourist Development Council meeting, hotel owner Nick Patel brought to the TDC the dormant idea of an ADA baseball field. He told the TDC, "There is one field that can be ADA accessible for kids. There are several leagues and a lot of people come. It would add a new dimension to softball complex if we create this kind of facility."
Picking up the ball, TDC Director Harvey Campbell told the Council, "From the air it looks like a baseball field. The areas that would be grass have a rubberized surface, as does the infield. The base paths can be orange or brown. Astroturf is not used because wheelchairs do not do well on Astroturf. It's called a Miracle Field."
The Jacksonville Miracle Field from the air. It is the one that looks like a turquoise snow cone.
Mr. Campbell said it is a thoughtful concept. It could be built on an existing field or a new field could be built from scratch. The field will be used primarily by handicapped children playing baseball or softball.
Mr. Campbell told the Observer the closest similar field is located in Jacksonville.
He said he has worked on this for years and he is excited that both the Rotary Club and the TDC are interested in the concept.
Mr. Campbell said, "Several years ago Anderson Columbia indicated that they would be willing to donate the labor and materials necessary to lay down the base of the field."
After the base is laid down a specialized rubberized surface would add the finishing touch to the field making it ready for action.
Mr. Campbell mentioned that when he first brought this up one of Columbia County's leading citizens offered to underwrite the playing surface. He said now that this project is again percolating to the surface, he intended to check back with him.
On the Miracle Field everybody gets the chance to play.
Mr. Campbell told the Observer, "The folks from Jacksonville have been very helpful. They have invited the TDC and anyone who is interested to come to Jacksonville to tour their facility and take photos. They are willing to share their knowledge to help make a Columbia County Miracle Field a reality."
Columbia County's South Side Sports Complex is on the way to becoming one of the jewels of North Central Florida.
The Miracle League and a Miracle Field would be a capstone to this evolving facility.
Does every child deserve a chance to play?
Columbia County has the chance to answer that question.
All photos courtesy of the Jacksonville Miracle League
*Barbara Jeffords Lemley contributed to this article.