Miracle on the Mountain Play Outside Park broke ground Saturday in Coalmont with over 200 people in attendance. The future park will offer a one-of-a-kind accessible playground and Miracle League baseball fields.
MOM is the dream of Keith and the late Audrey Nunley, who wanted to build a playground for children with disabilities. With Saturday’s groundbreaking, all local children will soon have the opportunity to participate in playground activities.
The spark for MOM began with Audrey, who passed away in March after a long battle with cancer. Her son Grant, seven, has cerebral palsy, and Audrey knew firsthand that there was a lack of outdoor play opportunities for children with disabilities in the local area. Keith and Audrey have worked tirelessly to see the park’s creation over the last year, and now Keith is continuing on, to ensure Audrey’s dream comes true.
Why is this park important to Grundy County and surrounding areas? Grundy County has the second highest percentage of children with special needs in the state, says Keith.
“We have a rate of 18.8 percent. The state average is 4.6 percent, and the national average is 4 percent.”
MOM was designed in partnership with Kanics Inclusive Design Services of Pennsylvania, and Recreation Concepts of Cookeville. It will feature a rubberized surface for play, swings with harnesses, a zip line, slides, forts, climbing equipment, and a 1.2-mile ADA compliant trail. Any child using a wheeled device will be able to maneuver through all areas of the park.
The playground and trail are expected to be completed by 2018, bringing outdoor play to an estimated 4,600 children with disabilities within a 35-mile radius of the park.
The ballfield, with a 2017 completion date, will host up to four Miracle League Association games a week during season. Games will include teams from Westside Park in Rocky Face, Georgia, McKnight Park in Murfreesboro (set to open in 2017), and Warner Park in Chattanooga (set to open 2018). Keith hopes to build teams with children from Grundy, Marion, Sequatchie, Franklin, and Coffee counties.
Keeping the dream alive
Audrey’s dream of a park for children with disabilities is kept alive through grants and private donations. When complete, the cost of the park will be $1.5 million. Eighty-three thousand dollars has already been raised to fund the development of phase one (beginning next week) of the project – a parking lot, sidewalks, restrooms, and a concession stand.
Keith says park organizers have applied for $800,000 in state and federal funding.
Please visit the Miracle on the Mountain Facebook page to learn more about the park or make a donation.