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ADA Compliant Facility Enriches Phoebe Bakken Memorial Park in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin

Just over a decade since the Village of Cottage Grove dedicated a parkland area in honor of a local philanthropist, Phoebe Bakken, the community’s parks and recreation department has been steadily adding new attractions in Phoebe Bakken Memorial Park. The 38-acre park is home to several athletic fields and a rugby pitch while the addition of two age-appropriate playgrounds in recent years further enhanced the park’s draw. Other recent installations include a 2,900-square-foot shelter building with restrooms and a 2,500-square-foot splash pad adjacent to the playgrounds.

In 2020, Snyder & Associates was brought on board to develop a plan for a “Miracle Field” that required integration into the overall design and framework of the existing Bakken Park Master Plan. Designed to allow children and adults with disabilities to safely play baseball, Miracle Fields have been growing in popularity for over two decades. Instead of the grass and dirt found on a typical baseball field, a Miracle Field diamond and outfield are made of a custom-designed, rubberized turf material that provides athletes with a flat, cushioned surface, free of obstacles. The bases are flat, as well, allowing the players with disabilities to run, walk, or roll a wheelchair without fear of injury. Likewise, the concourse, player dugouts, and bleacher areas are all ADA compliant.

3-D aerial view rendering of dane county miracle field

The Village of Cottage Grove’s new Miracle League Field rendering.

Material Sourcing & Design Challenges Addressed through Coordination

Spearheaded by another local humanitarian, Bill Schultz, and coordinated by Greg Sweeney, the Miracle League of Dane County was founded to raise the necessary funds for bringing the field to reality. Because of the organization’s non-profit status, our team went to great lengths to source equipment and materials at reduced rates in order to build the most cost-effective field. We worked with generous local vendors who were excited about the project and able to deliver quality equipment at great rates — with some materials even being donated.

A primary design challenge faced by our team was building the ball field and its supporting infrastructure to fit seamlessly with the unbuilt portions included in the park’s master plan. This included working within the confines of the park’s existing trail network. These easily accessible trail routes throughout the park connect amenities with the neighborhood and regional trail network and meet ADA compliance. To fit the ball field and the necessary improvements into the available space, we worked in close collaboration with village leaders and parks and recreation department staff.

Bill Schultz speaks at groundbreaking of dane county miracle league

Bill Schultz (center) founded the Miracle League of Dane County to raise funds for the new ball field.

Complete Services Offering Streamlined Build Process

In addition to the overall design work, our team handled countless other aspects of the project, including topographic survey and construction staking, along with concept development and 3D modeling. We also provided all construction drawings, utility planning and mapping, and offered construction management services throughout the build process. A strategic landscaping plan included tree plantings to complement and extend the nearby natural, wooded environment and increase shade within the frequently used areas.

With a grand opening ceremony planned for June of 2021, the Miracle League of Dane County field represents our firm’s first built park project in the Village of Cottage Grove and our first Miracle Field for our Madison office. This project aims to provide a developmentally appropriate and unique experience for all users regardless of intellectual, sensory, or mobile capacity. With a strong dedication to promoting and expanding all-inclusive play opportunities, Snyder & Associates has contributed to the successful development and implementation of Miracle League Fields in numerous communities.