Monday, Monticello Mayor Zack Tucker received a letter from Governor Hutchinson announcing Arkansas Department Parks & Tourism has awarded the city $250,000 of grant funding from the state’s Outdoor Recreation Grants Program.
The grant will go towards construction of the artificial turf field at the Monticello Sports Complex,. dedicated for the use of special needs children; which will begin construction in the spring of 2016.
In September 2014, the Miracle League of Southeast Arkansas, a local non-profit organization, was formed and made a push to raise $150,000 to start construction on the region’s first-of-its-kind field in Southeast Arkansas. Today, due to the overwhelming support of the project, nearly $600,000 is committed to the complete the field; and other ADA accessibility needs at the complex.
The $250,000 of state grant funds, is programed to be matched with $150,000 of local city government funds, an additional $150,000 from the local Miracle League non-profit, and over $50,000 of in-kind commitments from local community organizations & businesses.
“We are pleased to play a supportive role in the creation of this ball field. Ensuring that opportunities for equal access to sports and recreation are available to kids with disabilities in Southeast Arkansas is important to us,” said Monticello Mayor Zack Tucker.
“The Miracle League of Southeast Arkansas has been truly humbled by the community's, region's, and state’s support as we strived to meet our fundraising goal. We are thrilled to continue seeing the excitement build throughout Southeast Arkansas,” said Karen Connelley, Miracle League president. “We are eager to provide a place for special-needs children to play baseball at the Monticello Sports Complex, and are confident that our field of dreams can become a reality next year.”
The Miracle League field will be part of a 10-field baseball and softball complex owned by the City of Monticello, Arkansas. The field will feature a custom-designed, rubberized turf that accommodates wheelchairs, walkers, and other assistive devices while helping to prevent injuries. The Miracle League uses a buddy system which pairs each player with an able-bodied peer to help them play.
To volunteer, contribute, or learn more about the Miracle League of Southeast Arkansas, as an organization, visit their website atmiracleleagueseark.org.
For more information about the project, contact City Hall, 870-364-4400.