FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. - If you build it, Joshua Caines and his friends will come. For six years, parents and children in the disabled community have been selling cookies and asking for donations to build a baseball field for special needs children.
"They either have wheel chairs or walkers and this field is going to allow them to play baseball and kickball and just come out and be kids," said Betsy Caines.
In the fall, the field's construction almost came to a halt. Alderman Linda Arnold wanted the project stopped because the bathrooms were too far away.
Parents were furious but Arnold continued to work behind the scenes. She ultimately got Impact Strategies and Woolpert Design of Fairview Heights, to donate their services and build not only new restrooms but a concession stand near the field.
"It's a shame to give children a place to play, and not a place close by to go," said Arnold.
With that problem solved we checked on the field's progress. Just beneath the snow, we saw a sliver of Astroturf peeking out.
Brenda Wagner has championed the cause for more than six years. She said the field would have been completed by now, but Mother Nature had other plans.
When opened, the Fairview Heights Miracle League will be a sister facility to the Chesterfield Miracle League started by Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. He reportedly donated $100,000 to this project as well.
"Our motto is everyone deserves a chance to play ball. There shouldn't be any exclusions," said Wagner.
Plans are to dedicate the field in January and open for the season this spring. Wagner says Matheny is expedited to attend the dedication.