Future Location:
Bakken Park
Cottage Grove, Wisconsin
Opening Day: Spring 2021

Home run for children with disabilities

As a nine-year-old baseball fan growing up in New York state, Bill Schultz couldn’t play the game at the Little League level. His right leg was amputated at birth and his left arm and hand had deformities.

“Instead of being inside the fence with my friends, I was outside the fence watching my friends,” Schultz said. “The Little League felt I was going to hurt myself.”

Decades later, while watching television, Schultz learned of a group called the Miracle League that builds baseball diamonds equipped for children with mental and physical disabilities. He went to the organization’s office in Atlanta, and from there, the idea to construct a facility for children with disabilities took off. The baseball diamond could open at Bakken Park in Cottage Grove in the late spring or early summer of 2021.

An October 14 groundbreaking ceremony provided village residents with information on the project and how it will benefit Dane County children who have not been able to play sports.

Schultz, now the executive director of the Miracle League of Dane County, said he expects 80 to 100 children to participate in the first year with the second year having better than 150 kids.

“We have had tremendous response from groups such as the Autism Society, Down Syndrome Society and other Dane County youth services,” Schultz said.

Greg Sweeney, a retired contractor from the Findorff Corporation who is donating his time on the project, said a four-inch concrete slab will be laid out at the construction site and on top of that, a rubberized surface will be installed that will make it easier for children in walkers and wheelchairs to navigate the playing surface.

 

After that, a fence will be put up around the perimeter of the field along with a backstop, and then work will begin on the dugouts and bleachers. To prevent players from tripping, the bases, baselines, pitching mound and home plate will be installed at the playing surface level and not protrude above ground.

The Miracle League has raised $360,000 with the fundraising effort boosted by an anonymous donor who recently provided a matching donation. The group hopes to raise another $60,000 to build a scoreboard and other amenities. Cottage Grove Village Council President John Wiliams said the project took a few months to go through certain committees before it was given the green light.

“The reaction has been super positive. Everyone is excited about this mission throughout Dane County,” Williams said. “Next spring is going to be an exciting time for players to come out to Cottage Grove and play on this field.”

The Miracle League has overseen the construction of 300 disability-friendly baseball fields in the country. Currently, Milwaukee has the closest facility to Madison.

The baseball players will be assigned volunteers who will help the children make their way around the bases, to the pitching mound and the batter’s box.

“There is really not a defined boundary for what these kids can do,” Schultz said. “Parents see kids smile, have joy in their faces, make friends and build self-confidence. This is a tremendous thing happening here.”

 https://www.hngnews.com/mcfarland_thistle/article_4f1e7666-3a85-5ccd-be6b-1630e21f9b31.html

 

CHANNEL 3000 – Inclusive baseball diamond coming to Cottage Grove

COTTAGE GROVE, Wis. – There’s a new, inclusive baseball diamond under construction in Cottage Grove.

The Miracle League of Dane County is creating the little-league size diamond at Bakken Park. It’s specifically designed for people with physical and cognitive disabilities. Volunteers will help players navigate it.

So far the groundwork for the field is complete, and there’s a second phase of construction planned for the spring.

“One of the things that’s great about this is it allows kids with disabilities to experience the game of baseball,” said Bill Schultz, Executive Director of the Miracle League of Dane County. “But it’s more than just baseball – it’s an opportunity for kids to be included in something, be encouraged and build their self-confidence.”

Schultz says it’s also an opportunity for volunteers to interact with children who inspire them, and for parents to see their children experience joy, laughter and fun.

Fundraising for the project has been going on for about a year, and the Miracle League has almost reached their goal. There’s a matching gift happening now for up to $120,000.

Opening day is scheduled for the beginning of June. Updates about how to register for the league will be posted online in the winter at danecountymiracleleague.org.

Miracle League coming to Dane County (by Neil Heinen, Editorial Director of WISC-TV & Channel 3000.com)

Miracle League coming to Dane County (by Neil Heinen, Editorial Director of WISC-TV & Channel 3000.com)

MADISON, Wis. — The Miracle League is coming to Dane County and we are looking forward to it.

The Miracle League is a national organization that helps communities build baseball fields and programs designed specifically for children with disabilities. There are over 300 Miracle Leagues in the country all locally managed and independently financed.

Bill Schultz is the executive director of the Miracle League of Dane County. Schultz gets it. Living with physical disabilities as a child he experienced first hand the barriers to playing baseball, a game he loves. The Miracle League removes those barriers enabling children with disabilities, both physical and cognitive, to play ball, feel included and accepted and build self-confidence.

Schultz is raising money to get the nonprofit up and running on a parcel of land that’s been donated in Cottage Grove. He’s got a good start but could use some help. It’s a great project. The website is www.Danecountymiracleleague.Org.

Walkner Condon Financial Advisors

This week in the booth, Jonathon sits down with Bill Schultz, executive director of The Miracle League of Dane County, to talk about his mission to make baseball accessible to every child.
You can check out The Miracle League here: www.danecountymiracleleague.com/