With just more than $800,000 raised for a project costing more than $2.7 million total, the Miracle League of Coastal Alabama is moving forward with the playground portion of its project.
Work is being done on the new park on property in Summerdale donated by the city. Once completed the city will take over maintenance.
“Every piece of equipment is built for everyone to use, including people with mental or physical limitations,” Miracle League President Bruce White said. “The goal of our development committee is to remove the barriers that prevent our special-needs community from playing side by side with family and friends.”
Getting the site ready took about $98,000 and the equipment was another $318,000. The playground’s surface, including installation, costs $201,000.
“R&S Paving & Grading will begin infrastructure this week and installation will start later this month,” White said. “The playground will be completed by, weather permitting, March 1. It will not open to the public until the main infrastructure is completed.”
The remainder of the more than $800,000 already raised was spent to build the construction entrance to the site. Fundraising efforts will now focus on getting enough money to pay for phase three.
“The next phase is the main infrastructure including parking,” White said. “That phase will cost approximately $1.2 million to build and we are currently working to raise that money. The final phase will be the Miracle League baseball field and that will cost approximately $700,000.”
Organizers are currently submitting grant applications to find more money to build out the park and fundraisers for 2020 are in the planning stages.
“Ideas will be presented and discussed in our January meeting,” White said. “We will decide at that time. The focus right now is grant-writing.”
His group would like to get the park and ballfield up and running as soon as possible, but it all depends on the fundraising.
“As soon as possible,” White said. “If we had all the funds and started the project, the timeframe would be 18 months, but with continued efforts to raise funds, it’s build as we can.”
White praised the effort to get the first $800,000 to start the project and said the commitment is there among volunteers to get the project completed.
“The development committee is working diligently to make this park a reality,” White said. “Dedication is evident when you consider the fact that we’ve raised over $800,000 and secured in-kind service commitments from more than 20 contractors. We are committed to seeing this project completed as soon as possible. This is an expensive undertaking that will take some time to complete without substantial financial help. We are looking to partner with major donors that can help us finish the project expeditiously.”
In Alabama, there are Miracle League fields in Hartselle, Dothan and Huntsville and, closer to home, Pensacola has three Miracle League fields. The group is accepting donations on its website, miracleleaguecoastalalabama.com, Facebook page and over email. Contact Fundraising Chair Ginny Barnas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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