Organizers don’t think it will take a miracle to get field going here
The site plan and construction budget for the Miracle League baseball field at Bane Park should be completed within the next couple of weeks, Kevin Thoresen, founder of Miracle League of Minnesota, said Thursday.
Thoresen was in Brainerd Wednesday afternoon to speak to the Sertoma Club about the Miracle League field. He previously gave a presentations to the Brainerd Sports Boosters Club and the Brainerd City Council.
The Miracle League, with about 140 leagues across the U.S, including 11 in Minnesota, is a nonprofit organization that provides baseball opportunities for children ages 3 to 19 with physical and mental disabilities.
The fields are made of artificial turf to accommodate wheelchairs, walkers and other handicapped accessibility issues.
The leagues are run under special rules. Every child gets to bat every inning, every kid gets to score a run and every teams wins. Team members are assigned a volunteer “buddy” to assist them in hitting the ball and running the bases. Buddies can be players from other leagues, schoolmates, parents, college students, business leaders or anyone who wishes to volunteer.
The field will be built in Brainerd with no taxpayer funding. Donations from individuals, organizations and businesses are being sought to pay the bills.
“You can tell people want it and understand the need,” Thoresen said of the reaction his presentations have received. “Now it’s matter of creating the energy to make it happen. It’s beginning.”
Thoresen has helped build seven Miracle League fields in Minnesota and four more are to be completed this spring. He said it’s unpredictable how quickly funds will come in to build a field. In some communities it’s only six months, in some communities two to three years.
Both Thoresen and Interim park Director Tony Sailer hope to start construction by August. Sailer said it would coincide with the reconstruction of South Seventh Street.
Thoresen is optimistic about the prospect of Brainerd area residents stepping up to make the field a reality.
“What I’ve seen in Brainerd, which is really thrilling, is it’s a close, tight-knit community that really cares about everybody in community,” Thoresen said.
Sailer said interest is picking up and now is the time for a big push to get donations of money or in-kind services, such as material and labor.
“We do need help, there’s no doubt about it. It’s going to take a community, a regional effort,” Sailer said. “From the people at Sertoma and others I’ve talked to in town the interest is definitely there. It’s a fantastic project for all the right reasons.”
Donations for the Miracle League baseball field are being accepted at the Brainerd Parks and Recreational Department offices, 1619 Washington St. N.E. Checks should be make out to the Miracle League.
Sailer said a bank account will soon be opened through the Miracle League to accept donations. Questions concerning the Miracle League field in Brainerd can be directed to Sailer at 828-2320 or Thoresen at (612) 703-3218.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.