Rock Hill is a step closer to having a park where people of all abilities can play sports and enjoy time at the playground.
Mayor John Gettys, city staff and representatives of the York County Disabilities Foundation met at Winthrop University Friday to sign the lease for Miracle Park, a park designed for people with disabilities.
The land for the park is leased from the city of Rock Hill and Winthrop University, The Herald previously reported.
The park, between Cherry Road and Eden Terrace, will include two baseball fields designed for people of all abilities, multi-purpose fields and an inclusive playground, The Herald previously reported.
The city will manage the park through the Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department, Gettys said.
“For children often unable to join traditional teams, the opportunity to build camaraderie and confidence alongside friends with similar experiences through healthy competition and exercise can be truly life-changing and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build lasting memories and life-skills,” Gettys said in a prepared statement.
The $8 million park is the first of its kind in the country, according to the project’s website.
The park will span 15 acres, said Kylie Carroll, executive director of Miracle Park.
“It’s truly designed for everyone to give accessibility and remove barriers,” Carroll said.
Phase one of the park, which includes a “miracle” baseball field and the inclusive playground, is expected to be completed by the end of 2020, according to the project’s website. The full project will take three to four years to complete.
Construction on the park was originally set to start last year but was delayed.
With the leases signed, site work will begin in the next few weeks, Carroll said. Phase one will take about 10 to 12 months to construct, depending on weather.
“We’ve been waiting for this for well over a year,” Carroll said. “We’re really excited. It’s a park for everyone of all ages and abilities.”
Leaders have raised $3.6 million of the $4 million needed for phase one, Carroll said. Community members can support Miracle Park by donating on the project’s website.
“It provides an opportunity for children regardless of their ability to have a place to play,” said David Vehaun, city manager. “This is going to be a tremendous thing not just for our community but for all children in the region as well.”
Rock Hill isn’t the only area focused on inclusive play. Construction is underway on an inclusive playground at Trailhead Park in Tega Cay.
The All Play Together project will feature play structures with double wide ramps, rubberized surfacing for easy mobility, fences and play areas that meet a variety of needs, The Herald previously reported.