Improving Recreational Opportunities for Children & Adults with Disabilities
In 1997, a 7-year-old boy named Michael Moore caught the attention of Eddie Bagwell, coach of the Rockdale Youth Baseball Association in Georgia. Moore, who was wheelchair bound, attended every baseball game and practice to support his younger brother. Inspired by his passion for the game, Bagwell invited Moore to join his team. Unbeknownst to him at the time, Bagwell’s invitation was a catalyst for change that would create new opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
By spring of the following year, the first Miracle League had formed with a mission to provide children with disabilities the opportunity to play baseball. What began with just 35 players on four teams in 1998 has grown to include over 275 Miracle League Organizations with more than 180 Miracle League Fields. Located throughout the United States and beyond, the Miracle League now provides over 200,000 children and adults with access to special, all-inclusive facilities that meet their needs.
Unique aspects of a Miracle League Field over its traditional counterpart include wheelchair-accessible dugouts and a rubberized surface to prevent injuries while providing a flat surface that eliminates mobility barriers. All-inclusive playgrounds go beyond ADA requirements to provide ample room for those with mobility devices to be able to navigate and enjoy the equipment. Careful consideration is taken into account to create an experience suited for children with varying sensory, motor, strength, cognitive, and social/emotional skills.
Expanding Recreational Amenities Through All-Inclusive Play
Often incorporated into existing parks and little league complexes, Miracle League facilities work to expand park amenities in areas already treasured by community members.
The completed Ankeny Miracle Field and All-Inclusive Playground utilized open space within the little league complex at Hawkeye Park. Due to its proximity to Terrance Elementary School, the park is utilized for outdoor recess activities in addition to hosting Miracle League events and being open to the public.
Recently completed and opened to the public, Urbandale Miracle League Field replaces an existing field at Northview Park. By offering kickball and other events, Urbandale aims to utilize the field to increase athletic opportunities for adults with disabilities as well as children.
Ames Miracle League Field embraces the natural wooded setting of Inis Grove Park and utilizes its existing topography to create a unique, all-inclusive experience. Careful thought and planning were used to mitigate concerns regarding stormwater management, traffic, noise, light pollution, safety, and its proximity to neighboring homes while achieving community project goals.
Snyder & Associates’ Proven Expertise in Creating Active Play Spaces
Miracle League guidelines and requirements guide engineers, landscape architects, planners, and other professionals during design and construction. A thorough understanding of Miracle League expectations and establishing strong relationships with approved vendors helps streamline the process and guide project success. In addition, professional expertise in meeting ADA requirements, as well as knowledge of how to go above and beyond them, and create a more inclusive facility is a team asset.
From a holistic perspective, well-rounded experience in terms of planning and design for traditional parks and sports complexes is beneficial when undertaking Miracle League projects. With our experience designing sports complexes and various types of playgrounds, our team has gained valuable knowledge in what best practices are the most attractive to children and provide them with facilities that support their physical, emotional, and cognitive development. We strive to understand how children will circulate throughout the space and aim to encourage imaginative, sensory-rich, and active play spaces.