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Miracle League to receive $100K grant
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The city of Covington received a $100,000 grant for the Miracle League of Newton County. The grant will go towards purchasing artificial turf for the fields at the complex dedicated for the use of special needs children, which began construction on Sept. 17.

Miracle League consultant Tamara Richardson said the city of Covington applied for the $100,000 Land and Water Conservation Grant, which is a federally funded grant administered through the Department of Natural Resources, on behalf of the Miracle League.

She said the Friends of the Miracle League will match the grant with an additional $100,000 in funds from the 2011 SPLOST, which will be a total of $200,000 available for the artificial surfacing at the field and other related expenses. She said the Miracle League Field will be the first field that will use the new turf.

"The artificial turf makes it universally accessible for children with special needs," she said. "We were going to use a rubberized surfacing from the very beginning, but we recently changed it to artificial turf because it's a new product that's available for Miracle League."

"It looks more like the baseball field than the rubberized surface does and it's just handicap accessible."

She said the construction of the Miracle League field should take about eight to 12 months and they hope to have the field completed by next fall.

She said though they have most of the money they need for the construction of the field, she has continued to write grants for the project to make sure funding is available for any other expenses that may come up.

"The project is about a $2 million project, but we are using inmate labor which is going to save us anywhere from $500,000 to $700,000 on the project," she said. "We have the majority of the money in hand and yet we are still fundraising because things creep up and things always end up costing more than you think."

"So we are continuing to fundraise and I'm continuing to write grants as well because even after the complex is completed we will need programming money to actually run the operation."
Richardson said they have received numerous grants over the last three years. She said the money is in a designated fund to be used specifically for the playground.

In addition to the $100,000 Land and Water Conservation grant, Richardson said the Miracle League may receive additional funding from two other organizations.

"I'm in the process of waiting to hear back from CVS Pharmacy who has a foundation and Resurgens Orthopedics," she said. "I'm always looking for additional grants to apply to. It's a continuing ongoing process."

She said she it was a thrill to see construction begin on the Miracle League and thanked the city of Covington for helping the project receive a grant for construction.

"This is the largest grant I have ever worked on and it's been very rewarding to receive," she said. "It would not have been possible without the city of Covington and Randy Conner. He was so instrumental in helping us get the grant and of course the city council and mayor backed us in applying for it. I especially want to thank the city and Randy for their support in applying for this grant."