McALLEN — The city on Tuesday began construction on what officials said will be the Rio Grande Valley’s first “miracle field,” a baseball field built for children with mental and physical disabilities.
The new field, which will be at the north McAllen youth baseball complex that opened in 2018, will feature a turf surface to accommodate wheelchairs and any other equipment that could move more smoothly on turf.
A group of children primed to use the field sat in a group Tuesday morning before they dug shovels into the dirt to mark the beginning of construction.
“Thank you for keeping your word,” said Melanie Watson of the Capable Kids Foundation, thanking city officials.
The baseball complex, paid for through a $15 million bond election voters approved in 2013, includes 11 baseball fields, plus the new miracle field that is expected to be ready by November, City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez said.
This new field, while already built, needs the new turf surface and other additions. H-E-B is funding the miracle field through a $150,000 contribution.
In the complex’s first year, more than 100,000 players and spectators visited the grounds at the corner of Auburn Avenue and 29th Street, Rodriguez said.
“This is what makes us the best,” Rodriguez said of the inaugural miracle field in South Texas, which complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
City Commissioner Javier Villalobos added that this complex is a premier destination for youth baseball teams across the state, while Rodriguez and Mayor Jim Darling thanked the McAllen taxpayers for “trusting” them.
“We do what we say we’re going to do,” Rodriguez said.