All-Star game helps fund new baseball field for disabled kids - KCTV5

All-Star game helps fund new baseball field for disabled children

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The All-Star game was a year ago at Kauffman Stadium, but funds from one of the events that week is helping build a baseball field for disabled children in Independence.

Crews broke ground Tuesday on the adaptive field at McCoy Park, which is near Highway 24, and in the shadows of the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum.

The city of Independence is transforming part of McCoy Park into an accessible baseball field and play area for all children. Specialized equipment will let all children enjoy the field and play area, including those with disability.

"I think it's great that all of these parks are popping up in different areas," Christy Marker, a mother of two children, said. "The more communities that do it, the more that is available for our kids."

The Kansas City Royals, Royals Charities, Variety Children's Charity of Greater Kansas City and the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation will break ground Wednesday on an adaptive field in Olathe. Others including the Olathe Parks and Recreation Department will participate in the project.

The Olathe field will be at the Olathe Northwest High School athletic complex. The Miracle League of Olathe will use the field, and help reach more children in the area.

Toby Cook, spokesman for the Kansas City Royals, said children with both physical and mental disabilities will be able to play on the fields "whether they're in a wheelchair, or a walker or have difficulty getting around."

Cook said the Royals are excited to be part of the project "and allow kids that might not be able to play, get out on the field."

Children will play on even surfaces, rather than grassy areas and uneven mounds.

Independence mother Angela Oakes said she is looking forward to her son, Daniel, being able to play on the field.

"I have a son who has special needs. He has cerebral palsy and he plays baseball," Oakes said. "But on the fields, he uses a walker."

Daniel said he can't wait. He said he has loved baseball as long as he can remember.

"It means a whole lot to me," he said. "It's like I'm watching them play, and I'm wishing that I could."

Proceeds from the 2012 Major League Baseball Gatorade All-Star Workout Day held at Kauffman Stadium are paying for the projects, which are expected to be completed later this year.

The remaining funds will support future field projects.

MLB and the Royals donated $4 million from the workout day to benefit Kansas City area community projects, as well as national charitable organizations.

Baseball and softball programs in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma, Arkansas and South Dakota may apply for a matching grant for major renovations from Royalty Fields. Click here for more information.

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