Rock Hill park for kids with disabilities to break ground in October
What started as a “pipe dream” for a few Rock Hill residents could start construction in a month.
The foundation has raised about $3 million for the project so far, said foundation member David Williams at a community presentation last week.
Williams said the idea came from The Miracle League, building baseball fields around the country designed so people with disabilities can safely play baseball.
When he heard about Miracle fields, William said he called Norman and his sister, both of whom are involved in the park now.
“This kind of touched my heart a little bit because I have a nephew who’s in a wheelchair,” Williams said. “And growing up, he would watch my boys play baseball, and he would always sit there and they could toss the ball to him. He couldn’t go anywhere because it was a grass field.”
The land, valued at $2 million, will be leased from the city of Rock Hill and Winthrop University. Williams said the foundation expects to need $8 million for the whole project, including the leased land.
He said the foundation has raised $3 million with donations from Comporium, Founders Federal Credit Union, Williams & Fudge, Springs Close Foundation Springsteen Foundation, Rock Hill Coca-Cola, Warren Norman Co. and York County Community Foundation. It also received $550,000 from the city for a parking lot and restrooms. The money is from the city’s accommodation taxes.
The first phase of the project will include two “miracle” baseball fields. Phase one is expected to be under construction during the last quarter this year.
As fundraising continues, the park organizers plan to continue expanding to include two multipurpose fields, walking trails and a coffee shop run by people with disabilities, Norman said.
Norman said the park will be contracting the city’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism to manage programs.
Norman said though the plan first seemed a “pipe dream,” it now seems to be almost “divine” at times.
“To have the pieces come together like they’ve come together in a very short period of time has been unbelievable,” he said. “And it’s not because of us, it’s because of the community and the community support that we’ve gotten so far.”
Norman said the park fits in with the city’s focus on sports tourism but also helps an under-served population.
“I truly believe it’s going to be transformational for York County and Rock Hill,” Norman said. “There’s nothing like this, even close, anywhere in the United States. So this’ll be the first of it’s kind, by far, and it helps a population of people that don’t get a lot of attention a lot of the time.”
Williams said several Rock Hill groups will be hosting events to raise money for the park including the Rock the Grill BBQ cook off and festival Sept. 29, Family Trust Charity Golf Tournament Sept. 18, and Junior Welfare League Gobble Wobble 5K Nov. 17.
“This is going to be great for the whole county, the whole state,” Williams said.