Get answers to the most commonly asked questions!
What is a Miracle Field? A miracle field is a field that has been specifically designed for individuals with physical and/or cognitive challenges. It is made with a rubberized surface that is fully wheelchair accessible. Bases and pitching mounds are painted onto the surface so that there are no raised obstacles that you would find on a typical baseball field. The dugouts are enlarged to accommodate wheelchairs and other apparatus.
What will our Miracle Field be like? The design will mimic that of a typical Little League field while containing key elements that make it both safe and appropriate for disabled children and adults. The baseball portion of the field will be 130' from home plate to the outfield fence and will feature a 10,000-square-foot rectangular field to accommodate other sports such as football and basketball. The outfield fence will be removable from center field to left field in order to open the field to a maximum size 150' x 70'. Future plans for the field to be lighted will allow for play and other events to occur after dusk.
What else is planned? The Play with Possibilities playground – the only one of its kind in Monroe County – will allow typically developing children to play alongside those with disabilities with full accessibility and sensory benefits to create a truly inclusive, ADA-approved play space. Adjacent to the field will be a 34’ x 104’ pavilion, encompassing a 30’ x 36’ structure containing fully accessible ADA-compliant restrooms and concession stands. The pavilion will provide cover from inclement weather and shade, and will feature wheelchair accessible picnic tables to create a truly inclusive space where families can enjoy a meal, engage in organized recreation activities or use the field to play team sports such as flag football, basketball or soccer.
What will the playground be like? All kids will be able to participate in elevated and ground-level play, with ramps and transfer points throughout the playground to allow children of all abilities to engage. The new playground will integrate a variety of play opportunities to allow children to explore and develop, using all their senses, including the sensations of touch, movement, body awareness, vision and hearing while supporting motor planning and social play experiences.
Where will the facility be located? Challenger Miracle Field will be centrally located in the northeast part of Monroe County at the Ridge Park Athletic Complex at 1000 Ridge Road in Webster, adjacent to Webster Town Hall, and less than one mile from New York State Route 104. The facility is accessible via public transportation and para-transit lines.
How much will the entire project cost? The entire project – field, concessions, restrooms, pavilion and playground – will cost approximately $2 million.
How many miracle fields are there in the US? According to the National Program Director for Miracle League, there are approximately 150 rubber fields in the US.
Why do we need a Miracle Field in our community? Challenger teams are given the lowest priority for field availability and only get to play if fields are not in use by other Little League, school or town teams. When they are able to play, they play on traditional fields with raised surfaces, including dirt or grass that can be safety hazards for wheelchair-bound or visually impaired players, and have to safely navigate uneven terrain.
Where is the closest Miracle Field? The closest Miracle Field is in Grand Island, NY, with others in the state located in Albany, Long Island, Warwick and Westchester.
Where is the closest barrier-free playground? The closest adaptive playgrounds are the Wegmans Playground in Onondaga County Park and the playground in Grand Island.
Will other agencies use the facilities? Challenger Miracle Field has partnered with nearly two dozen other local agencies that have indicated they will utilize the facility for a variety of programming. Autism Up, Camp Puzzle Peace, Camp Smile, CDS Warrior Salute, Holy Childhood, Flower City Down Syndrome Network, Heritage Christian Services, Special Olympics and Veteran’s Outreach Center are just a few.
Will community residents be able to use the field and playground? While priority will be given to Challenger teams and organizations serving those with disabilities, the field and amenities will be available for the entire community and can be reserved through the Webster Parks and Recreation office. The playground will be open to the public.
What will the impact of Miracle Field be? Changing Lives – all kids will now have a playground to play on, and people of all ages will be able to play baseball and other sports, a rite of passage every American deserves. More people in the community have the opportunity to personally meet a person with a disability and watch their tremendous gifts and talents. Fun and Fitness – kids will be outside, playing, competing and having fun rather than the alternatives. Fitness and movement is such an important aspect of our lives and this will create an opportunity for those with limited choices. Connection and Belonging – individuals in our communities and especially children who may have left out or different get the opportunity to feel a part of a team, to make friends and to belong. Relationships and Community – a place to build relationships based on common interests for all involved, the person playing with family or friends alongside them. Friendships are created, support networks naturally occur and community is strengthened.
What is Challenger Baseball? Little League Baseball established the Challenger Division in 1989 as a separate division to enable children and adults of all ages with physical and mental challenges to enjoy the game of baseball. Similarly, in 1999, the Miracle League was officially formed to offer children with disabilities the opportunity to play America’s favorite pastime, and the first Miracle Field opened in 2000 in Rockdale County, Georgia. Today, more than 30,000 children participate in more than 900 Challenger Divisions and 200,000 children play in 270 Miracle Leagues across the United States as well as in Australia, Canada and Puerto Rico.
Is there a Challenger team in my town? Today there are nine Challenger Leagues in the Greater Rochester region, including Fairport, Greece, Honeoye Falls, Penfield, Pittsford, Rush Henrietta, Victor, Webster and the Westside. Each team handles registration separately and plays most games in their own neighborhood.
Why are volunteers needed for Challenger Baseball? Volunteers play a critical role in creating a safe environment. Challenger leagues utilize “buddies” who assist the athletes in the areas of batting, base running and defense, as needed. This relationship is a very rewarding experience for everyone involved: Challenger players enjoy the thrill of participation, and their buddies experience first-hand the challenges these individuals face in their daily lives.
When will construction begin? We broke ground on the field on August 6, 2016 and are excited to celebrate its grand opening on August 26, 2017. We anticipate work on the pavilion, concessions, restrooms and playground to begin in 2018.
Who will maintain the facilities? The Town of Webster has generously agreed provide resources to maintain the grounds, conduct general maintenance and clean the restrooms, as it does for its other athletic fields, parks and its Recreation Center.
Is the organization a nonprofit? Challenger Miracle Field of Greater Rochester is a registered New York State not-for-profit 501c3 corporation.
Challenger Miracle Field of Greater Rochester provides people with developmental, physical or intellectual disabilities a barrier-free, safe, accessible place to experience the health benefits and joy of play through baseball, other team sports, and adaptive recreational equipment.