Mir­a­cle League pro­ject pro­gresses

More than $420K spent with lo­cal busi­nesses

The Covington News - - HOLIDAY - GABRIEL KHOULI gkhouli@cov­news.com

The New­ton County Mir­a­cle League field has been a true com­mu­nity-based ef­fort.

Sup­port­ers worked to get the pro­ject on the county’s 2011 SPLOST list, and it’s re­ceived plenty of ad­di­tional help and do­na­tions dur­ing con­struc­tion. It’s also pro­vided a fi­nan­cial boost to 23 lo­cal busi­nesses that have earned a com­bined $420,328 for work on the pro­ject.

Pro­ject Con­sul­tant Ta­mara Richard­son gave a pro­ject up­date to the New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers last week, in ad­vance of a vote to ac­cept a bid to build a me­tal roof on the com­plex’s con­ces­sion build­ing.

Mir­a­cle League fields are spe­cially-de­signed rub­ber soft­ball/base­ball fields for spe­cial-needs chil­dren, and Cov­ing­ton is hav­ing one built at City Pond Park. Me­tal roof bid

Con­struc­tion con­tin­ues on the con­ces­sion build­ing and park en­trance for the field, and one of the next steps is to place a me­tal roof on the build­ing.

The Board of Com­mis­sion­ers re­ceived bids for the roof but tabled them at the re­quest of Com­mis­sioner Le­vie Maddox, who wanted the board to con­sider choos­ing a lo­cal busi­ness to in­stall the roof even though the low bid was from an out­side firm.

Af­ter Richard­son’s pre­sen­ta­tion, Maddox made a mo­tion to ac­cept the low bid, even though it wasn’t lo­cal, of $31,000, by Lo­ganville-based Paul Kent Con­struc­tion.

Ox­ford-based Out­back Com­pa­nies had a bid of $35,500, while Cov­ing­ton-based SteelCo Build­ings had a bid of $35,650.

The bid cov­ers the cost of the roof and its in­stal­la­tion, as well as trim, gut­ters and down­spouts. Pro­ject up­date

The field is still set to have its grand open­ing in 2014, but Richard­son said she didn’t know when con­struc­tion would be com­pleted.

Con­struc­tion started in Septem­ber 2012, and the fa­cil­ity was orig­i­nally sup­posed to take eight to 12 months to com­plete, but rain has de­layed work, Richard­son said. How­ever, la­bor is be­ing pro­vided by the Ge­or­gia Dept. of Cor­rec­tions, so no ex­tra costs are be­ing in­curred there.

Con­struc­tion is es­ti­mated to cost a to­tal of $1.63 mil­lion, with $1.5 mil­lion com­ing from the 2011 SPLOST – via a con­struc­tion loan from New­ton Fed­eral Bank - $100,000 com­ing from a state grant, and $36,592 in other do­na­tions. Richard­son pre­vi­ously said free la­bor would save be­tween $500,000 and $700,000 in costs.

Not in­cluded in that to­tal is a spe­cial-needs play­ground that will be paid for en­tirely by com­mu­nity do­na­tions. To date, Richard­son said the play­ground has re­ceived $175,221 in do­na­tions. The play­ground would be dif­fer­ent from tra­di­tional hand­i­capped-ac­ces­si­ble play­grounds.

In ad­di­tion, the pro­ject has re­ceived $491,107 in gen­eral do­na­tions since 2009.

Be­sides the Mir­a­cle League field, which is smaller than a tra­di­tional field, spe­cial-needs play­ground and con­ces­sion and ac­ces­sory build­ings, other recre­ational base­ball fields are planned if fund­ing al­lows.

Ac­cord­ing to the New­ton County School Sys­tem, there are 2,538 spe­cial-needs chil­dren in lo­cal schools; how­ever, Richard­son has said pre­vi­ously the Mir­a­cle League field is ex­pected to draw from a 60-mile ra­dius, which would reach into sur­round­ing coun­ties. Lo­cal busi­nesses

While lo­cal com­pa­nies haven’t worked on ev­ery as­pect of the pro­ject, Richard­son said $420,328 has been spent with New­ton County-based busi­nesses for the park­ing lot, land­scap­ing, util­ity work, ir­ri­ga­tion and other work. More money is ex­pected to be spent lo­cally in the fu­ture.

Sev­eral com­pa­nies have also do­nated work to the pro­ject or given dis­counts on items, in­clud­ing util­ity in­fra­struc­ture, stone, play­ground equip­ment and light­ing. Sev­eral lo­cal restau­rants have pro­vided food, which is used to feed in­mates ev­ery Thurs­day dur­ing con­struc­tion.

Pho­tos by Dar­rell Everidge/the Cov­ing­ton News

Con­struc­tion crews con­tinue to work on build­ing the Mir­a­cle League field com­plex, in­clud­ing a con­ces­sion build­ing. To­tal cost is ex­pected to be $1.63 mil­lion.

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