Mircle League playground to host first event

Published 12:23 am Thursday, March 21, 2013

Work at the Miracle League playground is heading into the homestretch, with the first scheduled event set for April 19.

Last month, committee members said , approximately $534,000 of the needed $565,000 is committed to constructing a Miracle League field and playground at Johnson Park.

Now, city employees are working on assembling playground components, while contractors work at the playground site, said Barbara Tyler, ML co-chair.

“After several delays due to inclement weather, city crews have started construction, and if all goes well – and we all know how much weather plays a part in that – we’re looking at a six to eight week completion date.”

And that’s just in time for the playground’s first scheduled event – the second annual “Special Adventures” outing for special needs students in each of the county’s three school systems, said Sonia Hines, Andalusia Schools’ special education coordinator.

“This is a special day for special children,” she said.

The Andalusia City School System is hosting the event this year, which was held in Florala last year.

Parents are encouraged to attend the event, and to learn all about the Miracle League program.

Miracle League removes the barriers that keep children with mental and physical disabilities off the baseball field and lets them experience America’s favorite pastime. Children play on custom-designed, rubberized turf fields that accommodate wheelchairs and other assertive devices. The local field is finished, and many youth league baseball teams are already using it as a practice field.

The league uses a “buddy” system, pairing each player with an able-bodied peer. More than 500 potential Miracle League players have been identified in Covington County. Player registration is currently ongoing, and board members will soon announce when play will begin.

And while work at the site and youth sports practice at the park is on going, parents are urged to remind children to be cautious.

“Parents, please pay attention that there is a construction area behind the Miracle League field,” Tyler said. “Left unattended, children can get hurt, and we definitely don’t want that.”

Tyler said work will be done in stages, and concrete curbing will be installed next week, followed by the pebble flex surfacing and components.