SUMMERDALE - The year 2020 began well. The Miracle League volunteers were working on phase one of its all-inclusive playground. Playground equipment had been delivered, and volunteers were working to …
SUMMERDALE - The year 2020 began well. The Miracle League volunteers were working on phase one of its all-inclusive playground. Playground equipment had been delivered, and volunteers were working to get things set up. All that was left was the ground surfacing. Then the coronavirus struck in March 2020. Meetings were cancelled for the safety of the volunteers. The year drug on, with fundraisers being postponed and donations coming to a halt.
The organization was able to hold a fundraiser in August 2020, a bright point of the year. Then came the second blow. Hurricane Sally raged through in September 2020, damaging some of the playground equipment and scattering construction equipment. The Town of Summerdale assisted in cleaning up the debris, but the hurricane further postponed fundraisers and limited donations.
It’s now 2021, and the Miracle League volunteers are staying strong despite the hardships of last year. While accepting the challenges this year will still present, the organization is making plans to move towards completing phase one.
“We got started on this about two or three years ago, but like everybody else we got shutdown by COVID,” said President Bruce White at a presentation to the Summerdale council. “We’re trying to get reorganized now and move forward.”
The group has spent approximately $850,000 on the infrastructure and has roughly $10,000 in the bank, with $40,000 in commitments from local organizations and businesses.
“The next part of the project is to get the ground surface down on the playground, which will be about $30,000,” said White. “We already bought the materials, but we’re probably going to have to replace some of it. As soon as we get this committed money we’re planning on finishing the surface, and then we will begin on a pavilion at the playground that will be about $40,000. Those are the next two things on the agenda.”
After the playground portion of the project is complete, White says the team will begin looking at phase two, the construction of the all-inclusive baseball field. The largest obstacle will be raising funds to begin the next phase. The organization typically applies for grants, but is having issues in the current climate.
“A couple of the problems we’re having with grants right now is due to COVID,” said White. “For instance, some organizations are giving funds to COVID assistance and relief right now rather than the organizations they normally give it to, so we don’t qualify for that … They’re going to notify us when they get back to giving to the usual charities and organizations, but until then we’re trying to get back up and running and at least get this playground finished and the pavilion done. Then we can start working on the fields. We’re just waiting on things to open up and money to be available.”
While waiting for grants to become available, the volunteers are planning on hosting fundraisers once more to raise donations. The team has four fundraisers planned in the next three months, which will be announced on their Facebook page. The organization, which previously met the second Tuesday of each month, has been unable to do so since its meeting location became unavailable during COVID. The Summerdale council has agreed to allow the group to meet at the Summerdale Community Center so they can reorganize and plan the fundraisers.
The Miracle League of Coastal Alabama is constructing a fully accessible complex for children and young adults with special needs and other developmental disabilities. The facility is located in Summerdale, and will allow children and young adults with special needs and other developmental disabilities to play baseball. The specialized field will feature a cushioned, synthetic, rubberized surface to eliminate barriers to wheelchairs, walkers, or other mobility devices. Dugouts, restrooms, drinking fountains, and the playground will all be handicapped accessible.
To learn more or to donate, visit www.miracleleaguecoastalalabama.com/38-2 and follow the group on Facebook.