It appears unseasonably warm March weather is working in favor of the Miracle League of the Upper Ohio Valley, which for the second time in three years will receive financial support from the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic in its effort to build a Miracle Field in Wheeling for special needs children.
The half marathon's 36th running on the streets of Wheeling will be May 26, with a full weekend of events slated to begin the evening of May 25. And as race day approaches, so too is the Miracle League's own "Opening Day."
Over the last few weeks, crews have been able to get a jump start on the paved dugouts and lighting needed to open the Miracle Field at the J.B. Chambers Sports Complex, which is expected to be ready for play this summer.
An employee with Yahn Electric Co. of Wheeling works in a cherry picker to install a spotlight above a number of planned handicapped parking spaces at the Miracle Field at the J.B. Chambers Sports Complex.
Photo by Zach Macormac
"I took my son up there ... and he saw the dugouts and said he can't wait to play," Lorraine McCardle, founder of the local Miracle League, said of her son Austin.
On Thursday, employees with Yahn Electric Co. of Wheeling spent the day installing light fixtures above the previously paved and mostly finished dugouts. The dugouts will need to be painted in the near future.
The next step, McCardle said, will be to lay concrete on the field and asphalt in the parking lot. At that point, the specialized turf could be placed.
The concrete work will begin in late April or May, when crews can be sure weather conditions are appropriate. McCardle said another 30 days will need to go by before the turf can be installed atop the concrete. That surface will make it possible for those who use wheelchairs or walkers to play ball with less fear of injury.
Waller General Contractors of Washington, Pa., was hired for the paving and much of the major construction.
Still remaining to be completed are the planned Americans with Disability Act-compliant restrooms and a concession stand. McCardle noted no exact completion date is set, but it appears a baseball game can be played at the field later this year.
"We never stop taking donations," she said. "Once the Ohio Valley sees the finished field, they will understand the investment."
She said about $50,000 more will "secure everything we need."