The Miracle League of Coastal Alabama received a large donation from the city of Orange Beach Oct. 5 during the city council’s regular council meeting. The council voted unanimously in favor of …
The Miracle League of Coastal Alabama received a large donation from the city of Orange Beach Oct. 5 during the city council’s regular council meeting. The council voted unanimously in favor of donating $20,000 to the Miracle League and pledged to match up to $100,000 in donations made by other Baldwin County municipalities.
Bruce White’s dream of building a baseball field navigable by wheelchairs started over 17 years ago. The project has been slowed down by hurdles over the years like the economic downturn, hurricanes, the oil spill and a worldwide pandemic but those dedicated to seeing this through have soldiered on.
In 2019, the city of Summerdale donated 40 acres of land off County Road 71, giving the park a home that is centrally located in the county. A groundbreaking ceremony was held Aug. 1, 2019. Years of fundraising and support from donors paid for the all-inclusive playground to be built but the COVID-19 pandemic shut the project down. The only item left was the installation of the ground surfacing. Then Hurricane Sally came to town in September 2020 and damaged some of the new playground equipment and scattered construction equipment.
The year 2021 has been kinder to the organization as fundraisers and meetings have resumed and plans are being made to complete phase one and move on to phase two. Orange Beach City Councilperson Jeff Silvers volunteers with the organization and spoke about the Miracle League’s efforts over the last three years.
“We have been meeting the last three years and going around and writing grants and talking to different businesses. We have already built the playground and now we are moving forward with the facilities and the fields. It’s a pretty cool thing,” Silvers said. “We are challenging a lot of other municipalities in Baldwin County because it’s not just certain children in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, this is countywide that will be able to participate. Thank you, mayor and council, for the support.”
The Miracle League of Coastal Alabama project total is $2.7 million and includes a fully accessible baseball field, pavilion and facilities. The organization has raised $950,000 to date which has paid all the startup costs like construction drawings and surveying as well as the purchase and installation of the playground equipment. The playground surface has been purchased and is awaiting installation. The group has approximately $60,000 in the bank and is working to raise more money so phase two can begin.
“We are extremely thankful to the city of Orange Beach for giving us tremendous support with this generous donation. The money raised by this commitment will allow us to install the sidewalk and attachment border around the playground and install the playground surface. The playground equipment has already been installed so this will complete the playground except for the large pavilion which will be a community build as soon as the playground surface is installed,” White said.
Orange Beach is hoping the match will motivate other Baldwin County municipalities to donate so this project can move along faster.
“We are a blessed community financially. This is not necessarily in Orange Beach, but it is a very worthy cause, and we are hoping that the other municipalities step up and cause us to have to match $100,000,” said Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon.
White said the development committee is 100% dedicated to completing this project as soon as possible but they have a long way to go.
“We still need a lot of help and we’re depending on everyone to assist us in making dreams come true for the special needs residents and families of Baldwin County,” White said.
Donations toward the completion of the park can be mailed to The Miracle League of Coastal Alabama at 1545 Gulf Shores Parkway, Box 159, Gulf Shores, Alabama 36542. For upcoming events and construction updates follow the group on Facebook.