By: David DiPino Contributing Writer
The Miracle League of Palm Beach County (MLPBC) has partnered with several Delray Beach community-focused organizations to raise money to build Boundless Dreams, a barrier-free playground at Robert P. Miller Park.
The Boundless Dreams playground is budgeted to cost just south of $250,000 and is located adjacent to the Miracle League field at Miller Park, 1905 Southwest Fourth Avenue.
Boundless Dreams addresses the problem of playgrounds being dangerous especially for children with physical and emotional limitations, and for all children for that matter. Working proactively as a community team, the Miracle League and dedicated community residents, took the idea for a rubber playground even a step further to include amenities focused on all children.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year in the United States, emergency departments (EDs) treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries. More than 20,000 of these children are treated for a traumatic brain injury (TBI), including concussion, In fact, MLPBC and community members, made the Boundless Dreams playground plans unique by adding features aimed at going above and beyond in exceeding Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. Boundless Dreams will include an ADA approved ramp, specialized rubber surface and equipment, sensory play panels, custom baseball-themed play elements and sunshade protection.
The team at MLPBC has experience in building a specialized rubberized baseball diamond and outfield. In 2005, Delray Beach residents Jeff and Julia Kadel watched on TV about The Miracle League, a baseball league inviting children to participate from across all ability levels. Parents of three boys, the Kadel’s went to the Delray Beach City Commission, received the support and money from the City of Delray Beach to build a field complete with a cushioned synthetic turf to help prevent injuries, wheelchair accessible dugouts, and a completely flat surface to eliminate any barriers to the wheelchair bound or visually impaired players.
According to the MLPBC, the Delray Parks and Recreation department was so inspired at the time that they renovated all of the fields at Miller Park to include The Miracle League Field. In 2010, The Grand Opening of The Miracle League Field became home to four teams and bleachers filled with motivational cries from mothers, fathers, families and friends. In 2015, a 10-Year Anniversary celebration was held and this fall season increased to include six teams, two coaches per team, 75-plus community volunteers, visiting civic groups, a committee of “Miracle Moms,” a Miracle League Cheerleading Squad, a volunteer run concession stand and a new, full-time executive Director, Julia Kadel.
Julia and Jeff Kadel said the Boundless Dreams playground has been a year in the making and dreams come true. John Fischer, President of the Rotary Club of Delray Beach played bagpipes at the ceremonies.
“I was extremely proud to attend this groundbreaking ceremony and Miracle League game spearheaded by the Kadel’s. Julia had come to one of our Rotary meetings a while back and presented the Miracle League story to us. My jaw was on the floor throughout her whole speech,” Fischer said. “I’m a fireman and not a very emotional kind of guy. This experience has a few Kleenex moments for me. Thank you to everyone that works hard putting on the Miracle League. We (Rotary) will remain a proud sponsor.”
Delray Beach Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) Lodge No. 1770, 265 Northeast Fourth Ave., were one of the many sponsors donating money to make the playground a reality on Delray Beach’s landscape for years to come.
Carol Stoller Eaton, treasurer, Elks BPOE No. 1770 said the organizations were honored to be sponsoring both the field and new playground.
“If you have never been to Miracle League you will experience something very special. Now all children can play together,” Eaton said.
Resident Bill Bathurst also attended the Boundless Dreams Playground Groundbreaking Ceremony. He felt the ceremony and hard work was inspiring.
“A Big thank you to Julia and Jeff Kadel for making some kids put a smile on their face and showing that nothing is impossible if you follow your dreams. You two are truly angels on earth,” he said.
Chuck Halberg, a Delray Beach resident and locally based general contractor, represented the Impact 100 Men’s Group with other members on hand to support the Miracle League and new Boundless Dreams barrier-free playground. The Impact 100 Men’s Group donated a $50,000 grant to MLPBC back in March 2017.
“I’m proud that our Impact 100 Men’s group was able to give them (MLPBC) $50,000,” Halberg said.
Delray Beach Fire Rescue Chief, Neal de Jesus, Delray Beach Police chief, Jeff Goldman, City Commissioner Mitch Katz as well as about 500 city employees and residents attended the ceremony.
The Miracle League is a non-profit (501) c (3) organization. For more information visit: www.miracleleaguepalmbeachcounty.com.