Miracle Field in the works
Like most 9-year-olds, Garrett Grommesh likes baseball. When he plays, it becomes more of a workout for his mom and dad.
That's because Grommesh is paralyzed from the waist down with spina bifida and is confined to a wheelchair all the time.
But on most Tuesday nights this time of year, Grommesh and others like him can be seen playing baseball on a small grass field at the Townsite Center in Moorhead.
"Those moms and dads work pretty darn hard," said Garrett's mother, Adair Grommesh. "Right now, the kids can't push themselves and if they need someone else to push them, it's hard work."
That will all change thanks to a project that will build Miracle Field - a baseball field with a rubber turf surface that will accommodate wheelchairs, walkers, crutches and braces.
The field is slated to be built in Moorhead's newly created Southside Regional Park. The goal is to have it completed by the end of the year, but no later than the end of 2010.
"We are really going to try to break ground this year," said Tom Thompson of Rehabilitation Consulting and Services, who has been spearheading the project.
Thompson said a fundraising campaign will start once he receives plans from MBN Engineering of Moorhead, which is donating its time and services. MBN's soil samples will determine which type of rubberized surface to use.
"We figure if we are going to do this, we are going to do it right," Thompson said. "But we're really pushing to have it done by the end of this year."
With the city of Moorhead donating the land, the FM Rotary Foundation (represented by the four Rotary Clubs of Fargo and Moorhead) aims to raise more than $100,000 for the estimated $200,000 field. Thompson said $60,000 worth of grants are expected to be secured - with some of that money coming from the Minnesota Twins and the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks.
"We can hardly wait," Thompson said.
Adair Grommesh can hardly wait, either. Not only is she the mother of a wheelchair bound son, Grommesh is the director of Hope Inc. - a nonprofit organization that offers year-round sports and recreation programs for children with mobility challenges.
"We will be the benefactors," Grommesh said. "Everyone wins if we can get this field put together. I feel anytime you can create opportunities for every child to grow and grow together, you create better children who will become better adults."
Kids playing on Miracle Field will be part of the Minnesota Miracle League. The Miracle League, founded in 1998, is a national association dedicated to bringing ballparks to special needs children.
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