Miracle League receives donation for handicap baseball field

COVINGTON – The Miracle League of Newton County received a donation of $75,000 from the Lions Club to help pay for the constuction of a baseball field for disabled children at City Pond Park.

Both the Covington and Oxford Lions Clubs submitted applications to Lions Club International for the $75,000 grant, which they then donated to the Miracle League.

Covington Lions Club President Richard Brown said that this contribution will be used to build the field’s restroom and concession stand facilities.

The entire cost of the Miracle League project is approximately $2.5 million, $1.5 million of which will be funded by SPLOST revenues. Private donations have accumulated more than $225,000 for the baseball field.

Other funding sources include grants from the National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund for the field’s rubberized turf, and CVS for equipment.

According to Miracle League of Newton County Chairman Dick Schulz, the baseball stadium facility will also serve as a Screen on the Green movie night location, a soccer field and a venue for many other functions.

The baseball field is a replica of the Boston Red Sox’s Fenway Park, also known as the Green Monster.

“We’ve blended the field with our other facilities so that the handicapped players can experience how non-disabled athletes play the game,” said Schulz.

Newton Miracle League consultant Tamara Richardson said the field’s artificial turf surfacing will make it universally accessible for all children, regardless of disability.

Inmate labor from the Georgia Department of Corrections is being used to construct the field during the week from Monday through Thursday, with anywhere from 24 to 27 inmates working at a time. Use of inmate labor will save more than $500,000 on the project.

“The inmates eat their regular prison food on their lunch breaks from Monday through Wednesday,” said Richardson. “But on Thursdays we provide food for them. This past Thursday they enjoyed a chili lunch.”

Schulz said that the Miracle League is an organization that helps promote building facilities for handicapped individuals of all ages, but with a significant focus on children.

The idea for a Miracle League field was derived from Newton County Parks & Recreation to serve special needs children in the local community. This is the first time that the Miracle League has worked with City Pond Park to build a handicap-access athletic facility.