By summer 2005 in Topeka, Kansas, there will be a new baseball field built specifically for people with physical disabilities. This diamond will be the first of its kind in Kansas. Three major corporate sponsors have signed on to the project and are also trying to raise $60,000 in private donations. Collection jars will be placed throughout the city for donations, as well. The project will include redesigning and resurfacing an existing ball diamond, which will support wheelchair softball, kickball, and other recreation programs. Groundbreaking will be held in January 2006, and organizers hope to have the field resurfaced and ready for play by June. Corporate sponsors are also raising money to pay for the city's first two years of membership in Miracle League, a baseball league for children with disabilities.
A similar project is going on in Surprise, Arizona, which brings adaptive recreation to the West Valley with the newly proposed DreamCatcher Park. The complex will be a $5 million accessible athletic facility adjacent to the community park. Mark Coronado, director of the Community and Recreation Services Department, says, 'The ultimate goal is to design and build a state-of-the-art facility to be used by the Special Olympics community, northwest valley school districts and as a complement to the West Valley Parks and Adaptive Recreation program.' The park will be an integrated facility for everyone, not only those with disabilities, and will be built in phases. DreamCatcher Park will include a baseball field with football and soccer field overlay availability and a track encircling the complex. Volunteers will handle most staffing.
The majority of the funding will come from the city, tapping into some budgetary resources. Development and funding of the baseball field and other amenities will be the main charity project of the Surprise Sundancers, a newly formed non-profit volunteer group. Formed mainly to support Major League Baseball spring training activities and other events conducted by Surprise, the group will also work to raise funds for local youth charities and community projects. Planned fund-raising activities include a golf tournament and a charity game between the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers.
Several public forums have been held during the planning phase. At a public input meeting with the Recreation Board, residents expressed excitement about the new facility. Many stated that there is very little in the way of adaptive recreation without having to travel to Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and elsewhere to find activities.