The Marlins Foundation, in partnership with the Miracle League of Miami-Dade County (MLOMD), the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces, and the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade, will break ground for the first Miracle League baseball field in Miami-Dade County. The event will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, August 13, 2016, at Tamiami Park (11201 SW 24 ST, Miami, FL). This specialty baseball field, specifically designed for use by youth with developmental and intellectual disabilities, is possible thanks to funding from the Marlins Foundation, the Parks Department and the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade, and other private sponsors.
"I'm hopeful this is a dream come true for baseball players with disabilities." said Marlins President David Samson. "We've had a strong partnership with the Miracle League of Miami-Dade for many years, and we're thrilled to join forces with Miami-Dade County, the Parks Foundation, and other sponsors to make this baseball field a reality for kids who need it most."
"I want to thank the Miracle League of Miami-Dade and the Marlins Foundation for coming together to expand athletic opportunities for our community's children with disabilities," said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. "This new baseball field will give even more children and families in Miami-Dade County a place to enjoy America's favorite pastime. I look forward to seeing this project come to life and watching our youngest residents play ball."
"There are over 276 specialized Miracle League parks across the nation and in Puerto Rico. This field at Tamiami Park would never have been possible without the unwavering support from the Miami Marlins organization along with the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department. This first of its kind field in Miami-Dade County will provide the over 69,000 special needs children and young adults residing in our area, a safe and obstacle free environment to participate in America's favorite pastime. Every child deserves a chance to play baseball," said MLOMD Co-Chairman, Ray Rocha.
"Miami-Dade Parks has long been committed to providing accessible sports and recreation opportunities for children and young adults with disabilities," said Miami-Dade Parks Director Jack Kardys. "A ballpark like this will further encourage them to get outdoors and be active."
MLOMD was founded in 2010 by Sturge and his partner Keith Reilly, marking it as the county's first Miracle League and the 236th member, joining the nationwide initiative that enables children with disabilities, such as Autism, Down syndrome, Cancer and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), to play the game of baseball and be part of a team.
In 2012, the MLOMD approached the County with plans for constructing a custom-designed accessible ballpark at a Miami-Dade Parks facility. Tamiami Park was selected for as the ballpark site because of its central location, accessibility and large youth baseball program.