Miracle League field on deck
The Miracle League of New Albany field is close to becoming a reality.
New Albany resident Dr. Kevin Klingele, who has led the project, said he hopes to start construction this month and hold a groundbreaking ceremony the week of Thanksgiving.
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Miracle Leagues are nonprofit organizations that hold baseball games on special fields to accommodate children with special needs. Children are teamed up with teens and young people who serve as “buddies” during the games.
Klingele, who is chief of orthopedics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, said initial construction would be the first phase of the project and include the baseball field, dugout, grandstands and scoreboard, he said. He said close to $900,000 in funding has been secured for the project.
The project has had more than $400,000 of donations from local families and various family foundations throughout New Albany and central Ohio, and the remainder was via corporate donations, he said.
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The Miracle field and facility will be on 5 acres on the north side of Swickard Woods Boulevard. It will be adjacent to the Plain Township Aquatic Center, 7650 Swickard Woods Blvd., according to Klingele.
Klingele said the second phase would include a playground, an outside fitness area and a family pavilion, which probably would cost close to $500,000. He said the second phase likely would be one to two years down the road.
Depending upon subsequent funding, he also hopes to add bathroom and concession facilities, he said. The cost for that portion of the project hasn’t been finalized yet, he said.
Klingele said about 175 families have provided financial help for the project’s first phase, and many people already have signed up to be volunteers at the facility.
Because of the overwhelming community support, this was a project that needed to be completed, he said.
“I feel blessed to be to the point we’re at,” he said.
The city is leasing the land to Miracle League of New Albany, and the Miracle league will own the facility, Klingele said.
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New Albany Mayor Sloan Spalding said the city is fortunate to have a number of passionate residents who have worked hard to bring the field to the community. He said he is looking forward to the groundbreaking ceremony.
"We are well-known for a focus on health and wellness and are very excited to support an effort to expand our recreational opportunities in an inclusive way," Spalding said.