The weather was perfect for a ball game as Challenger Miracle Field in Webster celebrated it’s grand opening Saturday morning.
The inclusive multi-use field is specifically designed for individuals with physical and/or cognitive challenges. The cushioned, turf field has wheel chair accessible dugouts and a completely flat surface to eliminate any barriers.
Barriers which Wendy McCarthy's son Liam had trouble with at other fields.
“If it’s too dry its bumpy and it makes it difficult not only for Liam but for the caregiver that’s pushing them around, so to have this nice turf field is going to be fabulous."
Over 400 athletes play on challenger teams around Rochester.
Mike Kellogg hopes his son William gets to try out different ways of playing baseball now.
"He also has an adaptive walker but you can’t use that on a regular baseball field. So here he might be able to use his walker rather than a wheelchair."
The outfield fencing is portable, making the field available to other sports besides baseball.
But Challenger Miracle Field Board Member Drew Bielemeier says the it's about much more than baseball.
"If you’re a child that’s five years old, seven years old, ten years old, and you’re in a wheelchair. You don’t get the same opportunities that other children do. You don’t get to make the same type of friends because you’re not out on the playground, you’re not out on the sports field and we're breaking down those barriers, we’re evening the playing field here."
He says the field is open to anyone in the community, and that the big turnout shows a “reflection of every meeting the board had,” and the immense support Rochester has for this field.
The complete project includes three more phases, with inclusive bathrooms, a playground and stadium lighting planned.
This story is reported from WXXI's Inclusion Desk.