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First special needs field in Muscle Shoals opens soon

In total, the field cost around $500,000 to build.

Posted: Aug 21, 2019 2:57 PM
Updated: Aug 21, 2019 5:59 PM

The city of Muscle Shoals is about to be home to the area's first adaptive field for people of all ages with special needs.

City officials have dubbed the field at Gattman Park, 'Miracle Field.' It's located across from the splash pad at Gattman Park.

People with special needs can play baseball, kickball and dozens of other sports on the specialized rubber turf field that's wheelchair accessible.

"For the city to spend money on that, it just goes to show that they are listening to parents," said a Muscle Shoals citizen, Tish Ashley.

Ashley is the mother of a toddler and has one on the way. Although her kids don't have any challenges, she said it's important that city's cater to everyone, including those with disabilities and special needs.

"We have so many amazing parks around the Shoals area and this is just one way we're saying, 'Hey, we're including everyone and giving everyone a space to play,'" said Ashley.

Muscle Shoals Mayor David Bradford said Miracle Field has been a dream of his. In total, it cost around $500,000. Governor Kay Ivey allocated around $250,000 for the park in the form of a community block grant. The city matched the grant for around $200,000, and the rest of the money to build the park came from donations.

"We think it's going to be a great opportunity for a lot of kids to do some things they normally would be able to participate in," said Bradford. "One of my goals was to make sure we have recreation for all ages and all abilities.

The specialized field with a rubber turf and fencing ensures safety and is wheelchair accessible. Athletes will play on teams with others facing the same challenges. The city is also partnering with non-profits that cater to kids with special needs and disabilities to form the teams.

"This gives us the ability for kids to participate in recreation that normally would be sitting at home or feeling left out," said Bradford.

The scoreboard and bleachers will be installed next week at Miracle Field. It will officially open September 10th at 5:30 p.m. with two games being played for the opening ceremonies.

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