TROY —Plans are in the works to expand Duke Park’s accessibility for not only city’s baseball fields and junior leagues, but for all children including those who may need a little more help at bat.
The Miracle League of the Miami Valley organization is in its early stages, yet big plans are in the works to add a rubber-surfaced baseball field with handicap accessible dugouts and other modified amenities to Duke Park in the future.
City council member and President of the Miracle League of the Miami Valley Bobby Phillips shared how the organization is beginning to plan various fundraising efforts to raise approximately $400,000 for the field for young T-ball players and children with special needs.
“It for all intents and purposes it would give the baseball experience to all, no matter what level of disability, a chance to get out there and participate,” Phillips said.
Once the rubberized field is installed, league play between neighboring counties of all ages and abilities will likely be organized. The area’s Miracle League fields include Springboro, Dublin and Cincinnati.
“We are not Troy ‘centric’, we are Miami Valley inclusive,” Phillips said. “We want anybody and everybody who has a group that would like to use this field — particularly from a developmentally disabled standpoint — to use it and we’d make it available to them.”
Phillip said once the special field is in place, plans will be in the works to add a handicap accessible playground area near the Miracle League field as well. Estimated costs for the playground are around $400,000.
The Miracle League of the Miami Valley board members include Phillips, Riverside Developmental Disabilities community relations director Melissa Nichols and Penny Hoekstra.
For updates and information, the organization has a Facebook page called “Miracle League of the Miami Valley.”
GRANTS SECURED FOR DUKE PARK EXPANSION
The city of Troy has secured two grants for the purchase of the 118 acres Huelskamp Farm to expand Paul G. Duke Park this month.
The Paul G. Duke Foundation approved a $300,000 grant on Sept. 3. The Robinson Fund also pledged $300,000 for the project with $150,000 donated this month and the other half in March 2016.
In an email to Ted Mercer, director of The Robinson Fund, public service and safety director Patrick Titterington thanked Mercer and the Robinsons for their support.
“Thank you for your efforts to help us secure this grant,” Titterington said. “And, of course, thank you to the Robinsons, who have been and continue to be huge supporters of not only Duke Park but of the entire Troy community. I know I speak for Mayor Beamish and the City Council when I say that it is exciting to be able to double the size of Duke Park and add a great new quality of life amenity and economic development generator to Troy.”
In August, council approved to authorize the purchase the Huelskamp Farm, adjacent to Duke Park for $1.5 million. The 2.5 acre homestead is likely to be sold by the city, according to previous reports.
The park area is currently being studied by MSA Sports consultant who will be presenting its study information in the next month or so, according to Titterington. The study was approved by council earlier in the year for $32,000.
The study will include “renderings and cost estimates related to future ballfield complex, including parking, concessions, groups of ballfields, inter-connectivity to existing Duke Park, and utility extensions,” according to Titterington.
Titterington said the city is still in the process of developing its plan for the new space which will mostly be for baseball fields.
“We still have to annex, subdivide, work with the County Park District on conservation easements, and determine where the financial support for building the park will come from,” Titterington said.
Reach Melanie Yingst at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews