A gap in funds needed for the Miracle League Field could delay construction.
Organizers are putting a call out for help in the final stretch of fundraising for the handicapped-accessible baseball field, which will be located in Bane Park.
“We’re right in ball park,” said Brainerd Parks and Recreation director Tony Sailer. “We’re just trying to find something to get us over the hump ... It would be ideal if someone stepped up with big chunk of money, but every little donation adds up.”
About $140,000 has been raised so far for the field.
How much more is needed depends on the type of turf that gets put in.
The cheaper turf is recycled rubber, but other users report the material fades and falls apart. The more expensive turf doesn’t fade and seems to be the superior product, Sailer said.
The cost, however, ranges from about $101,000 for the cheaper material to $134,000 for the better quality.
If the board chooses the better quality turf, a total of $193,000 will need to be raised.
The Parks and Recreation board meets Aug. 26 to decide what the next steps are. That could mean moving forward with the asphalt and fencing this fall, and holding off on the turf so more money can be raised over the winter.
Still, Sailer is hopeful all of the construction can be done this fall. It’s the ideal time, he said, as the park isn’t being used much by teams.
Sailer will continue searching for more grants to apply for, noting that the board wants to avoid using tax dollars for the project.
“This is a lasting facility that is used by a lot of different people, especially those who want to be part of that baseball experience,” he said.
It’s an ideal spot for physically and mentally handicapped people, as well as disabled veterans, campers at Camp Confidence, and many other groups, Sailer said.
A baseball field like this fills a void for those people who may not be able to otherwise play a sport.
“There’s a big push nowadays to be fit and healthy. The physically and mentally handicapped need that just as much as the able-bodied people,” Sailer said.
It’s a chance to be inside the baseball diamond, instead of just on the sidelines. A chance to be the one being cheered for. To be one of the baseball heroes.