Smith County commissioners approve use of ARPA funds for all-abilities baseball field

Smith County commissioners approve use of ARPA funds for all-abilities baseball field
Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 2:40 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 28, 2023 at 10:43 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The Smith County Commissioners Court on Tuesday approved using $264,654 of its ARPA funding to help build a special baseball field for the new Miracle League of Tyler.

The nonprofit organization promotes recreational and developmental activities for children with mental and physical disabilities. Smith County’s ARPA funding will help pay for a special rubberized turf baseball field that accommodates wheelchairs and other assistive devices while helping to prevent injuries in case of a fall.

An artist's rendering of the proposed Miracle League Park.
An artist's rendering of the proposed Miracle League Park.(KLTV)

Shannon Glenney, Fund Development Vice President for Miracle League of Tyler, said families were driving up to an hour away for their children to play in a Miracle League in other areas when they decided to start one here.

“Smith County is a community in which we are proud to live and work and raise a family,” she said. “With the help of the City of Tyler, we are extremely excited to give back to our community by creating a Miracle League field that will enhance the lives of hundreds of families every year at Faulkner Park.”

The City of Tyler is providing the land to build the field, adjacent to its other baseball fields. Miracle League is raising funds to construct the field and the City will maintain it.

“The Miracle League of Tyler will open up the joy of team sports to not only these players but also to their families and friends who are there to cheer for them,” Ms. Glenney said.

To help the athletes, the Miracle League uses a “buddy” system, pairing each player with an able-bodied peer. There are more than 350 Miracle Leagues across the country, serving thousands of children and adults who suffer from physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities, which causes them to be exclude from conventional baseball leagues, according to information provided by the nonprofit.

“It is crazy fun, the games are always packed and the score is not important,” Ms. Glenney said of the baseball games.

“Every child is a blessing and every child deserves to be blessed. This is awesome,” Commissioner John Moore said.

Commissioner Ralph Caraway Sr. agreed.

“We’re meeting a need for the community and the county,” he said.

Commissioner Pam Frederick said she would like to participate as a “buddy” during the league’s first game.

On Tuesday, the Commissioners Court approved a beneficiary agreement with the Miracle League of Tyler, approving the use of ARPA funds to build the field.

Smith County was allocated more than $45 million in ARPA funds by the federal government, intended as relief funding from the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic downturn.

For more information about the nonprofit, visit: