Donna Wade and Tommy Piper at new field house
YOUNGSVILLE -- The Miracle League's spring season got scuttled due to COVID-19, but there was an opening day of sorts in the past few weeks.
The Miracle League of Franklin County and its partners unveiled its baseball field in the fall of 2013 -- a rubberized field at Long Mill Elementary School that accommodates players with special needs, including wheelchairs.
That was just the first of three steps, though.
Phase 2 included a field house, equipped with a concession stand, public restrooms and a family room -- a space where families can seek relief from the heat or cold -- and is equipped with a private restroom and shower facility.
Miracle League Executive Director Donna Wade and Tommy Piper, who served as project manager for the build, provided an impromptu unveiling of the family building.
"This facility out here, the field, the family building, all of the things that go with it; that is evident when a community comes together," Piper said.
"... It's important that the community sees what a collective effort can do because no one entity could have done it by themselves.
"So, when you get a community where people buy in and everyone participates, you can do this."
Finishing the family building took a bunch of work, lots of fundraising and plenty of help from the business community and individuals, Piper and Wade said.
Construction on the 2,134-square-foot building began in the fall of 2016 for a project estimated to cost $263,000 in 2012 money.
The county provided $43,000 from Parks and Recreation funds generated from residential development.
And, the Miracle League was able to raise $112,000. There have been individual donors, as well.
The gap was filled by donated time and resources from area businesses committed to seeing the project through.
"The business and community support was big," Wade said.
Phase 3 of the project is a special needs playground, including wheelchair accessible equipment and a .08 mile walking trail.
"This all started with the little dream of a little girl named Laci Wade, who wanted to play baseball" Piper said. "And, out of that little dream, the field of dreams was born, along with this facility."