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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Special needs children throughout South Florida will soon have the opportunity of a lifetime when they get to play baseball on their own dedicated and specially designed baseball field.

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That’s because the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department and the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade in partnership with the Miracle League of Miami-Dade County (MLOMD) and the Marlins Foundation will break ground on Saturday afternoon on the first ballpark of its kind in the county, specifically designed for use by kids and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

The groundbreaking will take place Saturday, August 13th at 1:00 p.m. at Tamiami Park Field #9, located at 11201 SW 24th Street.

(Miracle League of Miami-Dade.)

(Miracle League of Miami-Dade.)

Special guests include famed Miami Marlins player Jeff Conine, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Marlins President David Samson, and even Billy the Marlin just to name a few.

The Miracle League facility will consist of an outdoor ballpark complex with specialized rubber fields that allows wheelchairs and walkers to glide easily along the field. There will also be dugouts, a playground, a concession building, restrooms, and “quiet rooms” for parents and children. The entire site, including recessed drop-off and pick-up areas will be 100% accessible with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Funding for this project will be provided by the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade, together with the Marlins Foundation.

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“I want to thank the Miracle League of Miami-Dade and the Marlins Foundation for coming together to expand athletic opportunities for our community’s children with disabilities,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. “This new ballpark will give even more children and families in Miami-Dade County a place to enjoy America’s favorite pastime. I look forward to seeing this project come to life and watching our youngest residents play ball.”

“There are over 276 specialized Miracle League parks across the nation and in Puerto Rico. This field at Tamiami Park would never have been possible without the unwavering support from the Miami Marlins organization along with the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department. This first of its kind field in Miami-Dade County will provide the over 69,000 special needs children and young adults residing in our area, a safe and obstacle free environment to participate in America’s favorite pass time. Every child deserves a chance to play baseball,” said MLOMD Co-Chairman, Ray Rocha.

“The Marlins Foundation proudly supports our charity sponsor the Miracle League of Miami-Dade in building this one-of-a-kind all-inclusive ballpark complex. The funds we have raised together with the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade are aligned with the mission of bettering the lives of our youth through recreational sports like baseball,” said Alfredo Mesa, Executive Director of the Marlins Foundation.

The Miracle League of Miami-Dade has played several games on the same field where the pros play... Marlins Park! (Courtesy: Miracle League of Miami-Dade)

The Miracle League of Miami-Dade has played several games on the same field where the pros play… Marlins Park! (Courtesy: Miracle League of Miami-Dade)

“Miami-Dade Parks has long been committed to providing accessible sports and recreation opportunities for children and young adults with disabilities,” said Miami-Dade Parks Director Jack Kardys. “A ballpark like this will further encourage them to get outdoors and be active.”

The Miracle League of Miami-Dade was founded in 2010 by Karl Sturge and Keith Reilly in 2010, marking it as the county’s first Miracle League and the 236th member joining the nationwide initiative that enables children with disabilities, such as Autism, Down syndrome, Cancer and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), to play the game of baseball and be part of a team.

Tamiami Park was selected for the ballpark site because of its central location, accessibility and large youth baseball program.

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To date, the League has been busy planning, preparing and fund-raising on behalf of the MLOMD ballpark development plan.