A miracle could grace New Hanover County as early as May.
That’s when nonprofit organizers expect a Miracle League baseball field and accessible playground to open at Olsen Park on land provided by the City of Wilmington.
WHQR's Michelle Bliss reports that the field will be safe and flat for athletes with wheelchairs and walkers. The playground will have attractions with wide ramps for children and parents in wheelchairs, along with a sensory wall filled with elements that move and spin.
Dan Johnson is a professor of recreational therapy at UNCW. He helped form the nonprofit ACCESS, which is raising $1.2 million for the project.
“There needs to be more accessible places to play, and really, where you can all play together. I don’t want you to think of this as a disability field or a disability playground. These are places for all kids and all people to be together. So, that’s really our vision.”
Johnson was in Myrtle Beach four years ago for his son Max’s baseball game. He had read about the Grand Strand’s Miracle Field, so he took a detour to check it out.
“And I was immediately thinking of all the kids I knew that could play on a field like this, and the names just kept popping up, ‘Michael’s going to want to play, and Kitty, and Abby, and David, if they have a place like this.’ And as I left the field I said to myself, ‘I’m supposed to do this.’”
Johnson says hundreds of UNCW students will help with Miracle League programming for special education classes, Wounded Warrior groups, assisted living centers, and Special Olympics events.
NOTE: An excerpt of Jemila Ericson's interview with UNCW professor Dan Johnson, along with a story by Michelle Bliss, are available above.
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