Space Coast Field of Dreams Announces Official Opening On January 5
By Space Coast Daily // December 30, 2015
It’s Time to Play Ball at Field of Dreams
BREVARD COUNTY • WEST MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – The Board of the Space Coast Field of Dreams – Florida’s first all-access, multi- sport park for children and adults with disabilities – is proud to announce that the park will officially open on Tuesday, January 5 at 10 a.m. with a celebratory baseball game.
State and local dignitaries, as well as key supporters, will serve as buddies to players with disabilities during the one-inning game. Governor Rick Scott has been invited to participate.
The sports complex is located at the north end of West Melbourne Community Park, 3000 Minton Road, West Melbourne.
The five-acre, $5.2 million all-access sports park features a soft-surface baseball and soccer field and basketball court. A disability-friendly playground for kids ages five to 12 also is located within the complex.
The Space Coast-themed playground was designed by Leathers & Company and built by over 1,000 community volunteers over a five-day period in November. Unique features include a zip line with bucket seat, a space shuttle-themed fort for kids ages two to five and a fish camp-themed fort for kids ages five to 12, both of which are wheelchair and walker accessible.
Combined, all sports fields and the playground contain over 300,000 pounds of rubberized playing surfaces that total over an acre in size.
The Space Coast Field of Dreams also contains a covered soft-surface flex space that can be used for other activities, concession stand and clinic, as well as five family restrooms (three with roll-in showers) and men’s and women’s restrooms. And to ensure that people with disabilities have easier access, 84 disability-friendly parking spaces with a curb-free design are located adjacent to the park.
“Today marks the first time in history that individuals with disabilities from Brevard County and beyond have a unique, specially designed multi-sports park where they can play without limitations,” said Board Chair and District 1 County Commissioner, Robin Fisher.
“Thanks to Representative Steve Crisafulli and Senator Andy Gardiner who championed this project from the start, and supporters like Waste Management, W&J Construction, the Space Coast Tourism Development Council and the City of West Melbourne, what began with one man’s dream over 10 years ago is today a reality,” Fisher said.
The Space Coast Field of Dreams was the brainchild of Jim Tapp, longtime Brevard County resident and retired firefighter from Atlantic City, New Jersey. Tapp realized that children and adults with disabilities didn’t have a place to play sports in the county, let alone the state.
“I couldn’t believe that our community, or even Florida for that matter, didn’t have a place for individuals with disabilities to play the same sports that I enjoyed as a kid,” Tapp said.
“I made it my mission to make things right.”
After several years of almost constant outreach, Tapp found a friend in Fisher. Knowing that Crisafulli and Gardiner both had a passion for people with disabilities, Fisher reached out to them and asked for state funding.
In 2014, Governor Rick Scott signed the state budget which awarded $2 million and $50,000 to the Space Coast Field of Dreams; an additional $1 million was awarded in 2015. Other founding supporters were Eckerd Foundation, Embraer, Harris Corporation, Health First, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office and Wal-Mart.
An open house for the public will be held on Saturday, January 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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ABOVE VIDEO: Built on the north end of the West Melbourne Community Park, the Brevard Field of Dreams will host outdoor sporting activities for children and adults with special needs.