Being a good neighbor means more than ever before

A field of dreams for athletes with special needs

Build adapted fields for athletes with special needs, removing barriers that limit participation.

Your uniform is laid out on the bed. Your nerves are getting the best of you as the game is still a few hours away. You imagine a big hit as your teammates and fans cheer for you. Sports are a quintessential part of childhood…for all children. Eight years ago, people told us we could not have a league for athletes with special needs without a field to accommodate them. We decided to push ahead anyway and make do with the typical fields available to us. Instead, we focused on developing our program and our athletes. We gave them the opportunity to be part of a team, where they could develop self-confidence and improve their skills in relationship building and teamwork. But the time has come to build their field of dreams. Today we have over 100 athletes in our regional program, with enrollment increasing each year. These athletes need fields designed to remove barriers to participation and access. These current limitations make it hard to serve all our athletes and grow the program.

The City of Mason currently does not have all-inclusive baseball fields. This grant would help fund the construction of these fields. Makino Park, Mason’s newest public park, is the ideal location to build adapted baseball fields. The park is home to the Common Ground Playground, which is designed to allow children of all abilities to come and play. The new field designs will remove access barriers present at typical fields, allowing our players to play baseball unimpeded. They will include turf playing surfaces, reducing rainouts, and ensuring participation for athletes with mobility devices. Parking lots, dugouts, bleachers, and restrooms will be accessible for athletes of all abilities. Image the delight of our players who will now be able to navigate the dugout and sit with their teams and easily access the field. The new fields will also enable us to expand our existing program, starting an adult special needs league, so our athletes can continue to play as they age.

Mason, surrounding communities, and all Southwest Ohio will gain a unique gathering space where athletes and families can come to a single location to play, socialize, and enjoy the game of baseball. Our athletes with special needs will have a permanent home, where their ballfields and supporting facilities and amenities are designed with their needs in mind, removing barriers that they have previously endured. The quality of life for the community will be raised by increasing interaction within a space that has leveled the playing field for both free play and organized sports. Athletes with and without special needs, their families and the community will enjoy adapted baseball fields in a park that is designed for inclusion. Through baseball, our athletes with special needs are developing the skills, friendships and self-confidence to be more productive members of the community. These fields will be a premier destination in Southwest Ohio for years to come.