Opp pledges $12K+ to Project Miracle

Published 12:03 am Thursday, March 22, 2012

After much discussion, the Opp City Council voted to give $2,500 a year for five years to the Miracle Field project, an amount less than anticipated.

Miracle League removes the barriers that keep children with mental and physical disabilities off the baseball field. Chil-dren play on custom-designed, rubberized turf fields that accommodate wheelchairs and other assertive devices. The City of Andalusia is working to raise $450,000 to build a Miracle League field.

Originally, the Opp council considered a request to commit $5,000 annually for five years to the project, however; when Mayor H.D. Edgar recommended the measure at Monday’s meeting, Councilman Jimmy Rogers “spoke up.”

“As you know I am a member of the Masonic Lodge, and we do quite a lot for handicapped. When I asked if (the Miracle League committee) had considered Opp, they said they hadn’t,” Rogers said. “I don’t like for us to put this kind of money into it when we weren’t even considered.”

Councilman Scotty Short said Opp “has some folks at our parks” who are interested in doing something for local children with disabilities.

“I think we should cut it to focus money on our project,” he said. “But I do think we should support this effort. This way we get the best of both worlds.”

Edgar said he agreed that they should hold “within their means.”

“I’ve met with citizens in Opp on doing something like that,” he said. “It’s foolish for us to think we can do this in the foreseeable future. I’ve asked them to come back with a plan. We can do both and be involved. It’s going to be a long time before we can do this here.

“We can’t just go put a swing set up for the handicapped,” he said. “The federal government mandates it.”

Short suggested the council pledge the $2,500 a year.

Councilman Oren Stewart said he felt the city has children that would take part in the league.

“I would hate to think we didn’t do anything,” he said. “It’s not strictly an Andalusia project. After Dwight (Mikel) came, I felt better about the project. I understand the idea to have money. Even though, I’d like to see something in Opp,” he said.

Rogers said the council simply “couldn’t obligate ourselves when we need to do something in Opp.”

Councilman Mickey Crew said he agreed with Short to give $2,500 a year for five years.

“It’s unbelievable the regulations if we get (something of our own) into the works,” he said. “They (the City of Andalusia) are going to go staff it, maintain it and incur a lot of cost.”

Councilman Davy Lindsey said he’s for anything that helps “the handicapped and elderly.”

“We need to do what we can do,” he said. “Activeness is important. I’m all for it.”