After a year of construction, community members got a peak of the Ames Miracle Playground and Field that is aimed to help cater to the needs of over 500 children with disabilities in the city Thursday.
“I think it’s really important to have an inclusive facility where every kid can play,” said Nick Johnson, board member of the Ames Foundation. “They can play in an environment with their friends and siblings, in a lot of cases they weren’t able to do so. To provide a facility that is inclusive to everyone is really exciting.”
The Miracle Playground will cater to children with physical, cognitive and sensory disabilities with specialized equipment. The field will be accessible to wheelchairs as well as other assistive devices, such as crutches or braces, and will be made of cushion and rubberized turf to include options for competitive and noncompetitive athletic events for children and adults with disabilities.
Last year, the Ames Foundation hosted a groundbreaking for the Miracle Playground. Now, construction for the Ames Miracle Playground and Field has been completed and transfer of ownership is underway.
“Right now, the goal is to have the facility turned over to the city of Ames on November 10,” Johnson said. “At that point the fencing will come down and open to the public. That’s subject to change, potentially, but that is our hope now; in a short couple of weeks it should be open for everyone to enjoy.”
The estimated $2 million project will cater to 3,500 children between ages 5 and 15 who have special needs in the Polk, Boone, Dallas and Story counties.
United Way of Story County provided $90,000, one of many groups that donated toward the Miracle Park fund, Kristin Pates, campaign director for United Way of Story County, said.
“When we look at a gem of a park like the Miracle Park, that’s going to fulfill the dreams of so many people who aren’t able to enjoy the parks that we had before this [the Miracle Park] is going to be opened,” Pates said.