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ADA-Compliant Sports Field & Playground Design

The first exhibition baseball game held at Urbandale Miracle League Field.

Nestled among the little league fields at Northview Park in Urbandale, Iowa, the Urbandale Miracle League Field, and the adjacent All-Inclusive Playground, provide recreational opportunities for children and adults with special needs. Having rapidly grown in popularity over the past decade, these recreational amenities are designed to provide opportunities for children of all ages and abilities (including those with disabilities) to safely use the equipment and participate in fun outdoor activities.

There are over 20,000 kids with disabilities in the Des Moines Metro (and even more adults) and most playgrounds do not allow them to experience the fun and joy of being outdoors with their peers. The Urbandale Parks and Recreation department reached out to the team with Snyder & Associates to design a space for an extraordinary, one-of-a-kind ballfield and inclusive playground (complete with a ZipKrooz® by Landscape Structures) for children and families of all needs — enhancing the play experience for all metro residents.

The Snyder & Associates team has been leading the way in efforts to bring more of these special amenities to Iowa and the Midwest, with both Ames and Ankeny also being home to Miracle League Fields & All-Inclusive Playgrounds. Central to the design of both features, the surfaces are cushioned, rubberized, and completely flat to help prevent injuries and eliminate any barriers to wheelchair users or visually impaired participants.

Donated Services Help Overcome Cost Barriers

Our team donated a variety of professional services to prepare design and construction documents for park improvements, including ADA-compliance review and analysis, topographic survey, gravity sewer design and operation, signage and monuments design, park planning and design, master planning, and sports field design. To help bring awareness to the fundraising efforts to build this project, the Snyder & Associates team also created display boards to exhibit at Urbandale City Hall and Polk County Public Works. A 3-D model was produced and used to create an informational video that provided the public with a virtual tour of the finished project while it was still under construction.

Other improvements to Northview Park included parking lot updates with additional handicap-accessible parking stalls and bus access. An entrance feature with inspirational baseball quotes that also honors donors, as well as bronze statues that promote all-inclusive play was also included. In addition to softball and baseball games, Urbandale city leaders plan to utilize the Miracle Field to host kickball and other events for individuals of all ages and abilities.

Inclusive Play for the Whole Community

Bronze statues at Urbandale Miracle League Field promote all-inclusive play.

Completed in spring 2018, the Urbandale Miracle League Field and All-Inclusive Playground was celebrated with an opening day ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 4, 2018. The event included a community social and exhibition baseball game to kick off the 2018 outdoor sports season.

While our team provided numerous services to bring this project to life, it couldn’t have been completed without the collaboration of several groups and organizations, including Polk County Public Works, the City of Urbandale, the Urbandale Miracle League with representatives from Urbandale Community Action Network (UCAN), the Courage League, and residents.

Visit the Urbandale Miracle League’s website for additional information on how this park will impact the community.

Snyder & Associates has been an exceptional help with this unique project. Anticipating questions and needs during ongoing design and construction has been invaluable. Their attention to detail and level of interaction with all parties when needed has let us move forward quickly at the right times. Snyder & Associates knows what it takes to get this project from dream to reality and we are grateful we chose them to help us see it through.

- Robert Rice
Public Works Director, Polk County Public Works