Members from the Rotary Clubs of Kingsport — Kingsport Sunrise, Kingsport Downtown, Tri-Cities and Scott County — teamed up and provided more than 150 volunteers hours to the project.
“Visit Kingsport, in partnership with the Kingsport Economic Development Board and the city of Kingsport, are constructing a Miracle Field Complex,” said Rotary Area Governor Ambre Torbett. “This facility will provide a place for special needs children, teens and adults to play baseball. The facility will be the first of its kind in Northeast Tennessee.”
Currently, children with mental or physical challenges in the area do not have access to athletic facilities that can accommodate their needs.
“Natural grass baseball fields do not allow for easy use of mobility devices such as wheelchairs, walkers or crutches,” explained Visit Kingsport Executive Director Jud Teague, a former high school baseball coach who has spearheaded the project from the beginning.
Teague’s desire to bring a Miracle League Field to the region was also motivated by his son Nicholas, who has Down syndrome.
In addition to the rubberized surface on the field, several unique features are included in the overall design that will provide additional comfort for both players and spectators. These features include several shade structures, backed spectator seating, cooling fans in the dugouts and picnic pavilion, air-conditioned restrooms, and a family restroom with a shower. The Miracle Field project also includes a large, handicapped-accessible playground that will be open to the public year-round.
During games, the Miracle League uses a “buddy” system to pair each player with an able-bodied peer, creating lasting friendships.
“This project goes beyond our Rotarians building benches and tables and putting in landscaping,” said Torbett. “This project creates an ongoing opportunity for us to live out the Rotary International motto of Service Above Self by serving as ‘buddies’ for the program.”