It was 1990 when President George Herbert Walker Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law. Twenty-three years later, the Brax Stadium PPD Miracle Field opens in Wilmington.
Launched just three weeks ago, the accessible playground is packed with families on a Monday morning the week school starts. So as NPR focuses a national spotlight on the burgeoning world of accessible sports facilities, we're taking a closer look at how Wilmington is ahead of the curve.
The Miracle Field in Wilmington is accessible in every sense of the word: no curbs from the parking lot to the playground get in the way; a rubberized surface makes navigation easy for wheels, feet, or other apparatus, no bumps crop up at the entrance to the dugout, and everyone is welcome.
For Bo Dean, Director of the Miracle League, inclusiveness goes both ways and the sooner people start to understand that, he says, the richer the community.
“You know we encounter people that are different in our lives everyday. But if all the kids are playing together, they lose some of those barriers of, ‘oh, well, what does that wheelchair mean? What does that apparatus around their legs mean? What does that limb missing mean? Or why do they speak differently? Or what is that facial expression that seems to be skewed or something different than what I normally see in my own mirror?’ You lose that during that play.”
So far, just under two million dollars has come from individuals and organizations in the form of cash and in-kind donations.
Dean says he looks forward to the Miracle Field becoming a resource for New Hanover County public schools – before branching out into the broader, tri-county area.
Registration for the Miracle League’s first season is underway.
For more information on registration or the League, visit their website: http://miracleleaguewilm.org/