Apr. 8—A Beavercreek park for people of all abilities will soon have accessible baseball and kickball fields.
Two accessible, astro-turf ball fields will be constructed on the now grassy field, complete with a dug out area, at Owen's Place Park, formerly Victory Park. Crews expect to start building the field next week.
The nonprofit organization that runs the park, Owen's Place, had been hoping to add this one final feature for over a year. The group had been asking local municipalities for financial help before the Louise Kendig and Wilfred Denton Jones Family Endowment at the Greene County Community Foundation gave a $275,000 grant to Owen's Place to construct the accessible ball fields.
Greg Gustafson, Owen's Place sports manager, said he didn't expect to have fields any time soon.
"This is unbelievable," Gustafson said. "This will help more kids play, especially the wheelchair-bound kids. That's all they want to do, is play and be like everyone else."
Gustafson said kids come from as far as Sidney and Washington Courthouse to play. With the new ball fields, Gustafson said he hopes to maybe extend the season or add a sport.
"It doesn't matter how far they hit it, if they go home tired and sweaty, that's great," he said. "They (the kids) don't see the difference. They see it as 'I'm playing baseball just like my brother.'"
Co-chairs of the Owen's Place nonprofit Fred Pence and Gussie Jones are calling these fields "the field of dreams," because the accessible fields will allow these kids to play with their peers.
There will also be a parking lot built next to the fields. S2K Excavating will dig up the field and Forever Lawn of Ohio will be installing the turf fields. Construction of the fields should take about 180 days.
Wilfred and Louise Jones didn't have children of their own, but their donation will enable kids of all abilities to play at the park.
Gussie Jones said Louise Jones was a very close friend and after her husband, Wilfred Jones, died, the two would often get lunch. If the weather was nice, they would eat lunch at Owen's Place park so that Louise could watch the kids play at the playground.
Ed Marrinan from the Greene County Community Foundation said that the nearly half million dollar endowment from the Jones family will be held at the community foundation to ensure the ball fields can be maintained.
There are 84 kids signed up to play on the fields in the fall. The players range from 4-years-old to 41-years-old.
Greene County commissioners, Beavercreek city council members and Beavercreek Twp. Trustees attended a ground breaking celebration on Thursday for the park.