The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation joins the city of Kingsport, Eastman and the Eastman Foundation, Ballad Health, Eastman Credit Union and Pal's as major contributors in the building of the special needs complex, which will serve the region's youth and young adults. Other partners are GRC Construction, Palmer Center Foundation, Blue Ridge Properties, Chef's Pizzeria, New York Mets Foundation and several other individual and private contributors.
A FIRST FOR THE REGION
The Miracle League Complex, the first of its kind in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, is expected to be utilized by thousands of physically and developmentally challenged young people from the region. The BlueCross Healthy Place at the Kingsport Miracle League Complex will feature all-inclusive play structures in vibrant colors, multisensory playground components and a safety surface.
The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation is sponsoring the playground as part of its BlueCross Healthy Place program, which creates spaces across the state that foster community ties and provide opportunities for activity. For additional information about the program, visit www.bluecrosshealthyplaces.com.
"Through the BlueCross Healthy Place program, our foundation is creating spaces that provide Tennesseans with increased opportunities for connection and recreation," says Scott Wilson, director of community relations and health foundation for BlueCross. "We're honored to work with the city of Kingsport and to fund an accessible playground at the Miracle Field Complex that will give community members, including players and their families, another opportunity to have fun together."
Jud Teague, executive director of Visit Kingsport, has spearheaded fundraising efforts for the construction of the Miracle League Complex and is honored that the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation has come on board.
"We're so excited that the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation has joined us in the building of the Miracle League Complex," said Teague, whose 10-year-old son Nicholas has Down Syndrome. "They've always been a great partner and having them be part of this regional facility, which is going to do so much for so many, means a great deal to all of us involved in this project. We're incredibly appreciative of them, as well as our other regional partners, without whom this complex would not become a reality."
A BALLFIELD, A PLAYGROUND AND MORE
The Miracle League Complex, which will be located at Brickyard Park in Kingsport, will feature a rubberized baseball field, as well as the all-accessible playground, a pavilion, and concessions in the first phase, with additional sports fields planned for Phase 2 and Phase 3 development. The facility is designed to give special needs children and young adults the opportunity to safely participate in sports and other physical activities.
The Miracle League, which is free and non-competitive, removes the barriers that keep children and young adults with mental and physical disabilities off the baseball field and lets them experience the joy of America's pastime. Since the main barriers for these athletes arise from the natural grass fields used in conventional leagues, Miracle League teams play on a custom-designed, rubberized turf field that accommodates wheelchairs and other assertive devices.
Grand opening for the facility is expected to be in May.
Currently, there are more than 300 Miracle League organizations worldwide, including Puerto Rico, Canada and Australia, serving more than 200,000 children and young adults with disabilities.
To learn more about the Miracle League, visit www.themiracleleague.net
ABOUT VISIT KINGSPORT
Visit Kingsport provides destination marketing and organizational expertise in attracting, welcoming and retaining visitors, events, groups and residents that build economic prosperity through increased employment, tax revenues and relocations.
ABOUT BLUECROSS BLUESHIELD OF TENNESSEE FOUNDATION
The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation Inc. was established in December 2003 as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation organized to promote the philanthropic mission of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. The foundation provides funding for the BlueCross Healthy Places program, which creates active, healthy spaces across Tennessee.