Plans for a Miracle League field in Eau Claire move to the city council

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Plans are in the works to build a new and unique baseball field that makes playing sports more accessible for all athletes.

The Miracle Field of the Chippewa Valley wants to build a rubberized field for athletes with disabilities.

Wednesday, the Eau Claire Waterways and Parks Commission heard a presentation on plans for the proposed field, which would go at the Jeffers Road Park where a five field baseball and softball complex is under construction.

The Miracle League of the Chippewa Valley plans to raise funds and work with local contractors to get the field built, and then will turn the field over to the city.

A majority of programming at the field will be for children between the ages of four and 19 with cognitive or physical disabilities.

Nick White with The Miracle League of the Chippewa Valley said the field will have a smooth surface that's barrier free, making it accessible for anyone with mobility issues.

The field will also utilize involvement from community members.

"Each athlete is partnered with a buddy to help them in the program. All four high schools in town have approached us and have said we want our baseball program, our athletes to be buddies. All of our baseball and softball officials have said they'll volunteer their time to umpire the games," said Nick White.

The goal is to raise $525,000. Of that, $25,000 will go into a maintenance fund with $500,000 to cover the field, handicap accessible restrooms, and a plaza with a handicap accessible playground.

Nick White said Goodwill of North Central Wisconsin has already committed $100,000.

White said there are currently five Miracle League fields in Wisconsin. The season is eight weeks long with games four nights a week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday) and no practices.

"The individuals and the athletes we'll have in our program we really believe in including them in a baseball atmosphere. With the five fields that are already out there, they feel like they're part of the ballpark complex," said White.

When the Miracle League is not using the field, it will be open for other groups and organizations to use.

The Waterways and Parks Commission supported the proposal Wednesday. It now goes before the Eau Claire City Council for approval on Tuesday, May 10th.

If approved, the goal is for grading to begin this fall with installation next spring and opening for use in June 2017.

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