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Posted: June 12, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Miracle League field nearing completion

With a few more projects remaining, field will be finished in time for 2014 season


Miracle League consultant Tamara Richardson is crossing her fingers in hopes the Miracle League Field will be ready around August or September 2014.

The Miracle League complex has been an ongoing project by Newton County Recreation to provide children of all abilities with the opportunity to play baseball.

Richardson released a list of updates on each remaining project and remains hopeful they will meet deadline.

Final steps to completion

In what Richardson described as a wonderful partnership, the concession and restroom building was just completed last Thursday by DOC inmates, who worked four days a week for more than a year.

“From laying out the first foundation to the last bit of painting and installing the fans, they did everything in the building,” Richardson said. “They pretty much built the building from the ground up.”

Though using inmates made the process take longer — the building took a year and a half to finish — Richardson believes the advantages are greater.

These advantages included having skilled laborers free of charge. Inmates were able to offer electric work, plumbing and other skills to construct the building.

Additionally, the use of free labor saved them an estimated $700,000-$850,000.

Richardson also said it was a way for the inmates to give back to the community.

“It’s been a wonderful relationship we’ve forged with the DOC,” she said.

In addition to the completed building, asphalt for the Miracle League Field has been down almost 30 days, curing in preparation for the artificial turf that makes the field safe and wheelchair accessible.

“By mid-July I hope that we’ll see some turf on the miracle league field,” Richardson said.

After the turf is laid, Richardson said they can begin adding finishing touches like bleachers and dugouts. Lighting in the parking lot and on the field will be added within 30 days.

Some landscaping was provided by local agencies such as the Covington Kiwanis Club, who planted about 45 trees on the grounds in April. More landscaping will be added in the winter due to temperature concerns.

Richardson said the “poured in place” surfacing for the universally-accessible playground will be one of the last things to be installed.

“Our playground is the first in the county specifically for children with special needs in mind,” she said.

The playground’s equipment was put together last October with more than 200 community volunteers. But because construction is still ongoing, children will have to wait until the grand opening to play on the equipment.

Finally, Richardson hopes the budget will cover costs to pave the second, multi-purpose field adjacent to the Miracle League field in artificial turf as well.

“It’s looking like we’ll be able to do it, but we don’t want to do that field until miracle field is 98 percent finished,” Richardson said.

Once the project is completed, she hopes to follow it with the first season of Miracle League ball.

“When we first started this we knew it was probably going to take longer than anticipated, but it will be well worth the wait,” Richardson said.

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