The Ripken Foundation has officially opened the new Miracle Field on the campus of Northeast School in Vernon, CT. This new, adaptive Youth Development Park will provide youth of all abilities a safe, clean, and accessible field to play and have fun.
During opening ceremonies, Ripken Foundation Executive Vice President of Strategic Initiatives & Resource Development Chuck Brady noted how this field would be a fitting tribute to Cal, Sr. He recalls road tripping with Cal, Sr., and how he would bring along a bag of baseballs and a fungo bat for an impromptu workout and life lesson for local youth. "This is a great day for the kids," said Brady.
Vernon Mayor Daniel Champagne echoed Brady's sentiment. "This is a great day for Vernon, for Connecticut, and for the children who will enjoy this field for decades to come," said Champagne. "This project represents the good that government can achieve with community support. I thought it was a great idea. We immediately went to work on a plan to make it happen and, a year later, here we are."
The Youth Development Park was built to be fully accessible to children with disabilities, but is also available for use by Northeast School students. "Everything we do in the Vernon Public Schools is in the best interest of all children," said Superintendent of Schools Joseph Macary. "When this proposal came to me and to the board of education, I immediately thought of our equity stance. How do we make it equitable for all children, in spite of their abilities."
The field features a synthetic turf surface and dugouts that are wheel chair accessible and completely flat and barrier free so that children with visual disabilities can participate.
Town Administrator Michael Purcaro said that the town staff from multiple different departments were all ecstatic to make this park happen. "Children and families from all over Connecticut are going to visit Vernon to play at the Miracle Field," said Purcaro. "Those families will get to know what many of us already know - that Vernon is a welcoming community and great place to live, work, and play."