Carrollton has officially opened up a new adaptive sports field at the Josey Ranch Sports Complex in an effort to provide more amenities for those with special needs.
Field No. 6 was converted to a low-pile synthetic turf that will provide a more functional surface for wheelchairs. In addition, a new backstop, fencing and wider dugouts were installed in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act standards for accessible design.
“We’re really trying to focus on an under reached population,” said Kim Bybee, parks manager. “We think this field will be great for them.”
According to the city, the field was originally constructed in 1989 as a stand-alone baseball field. Bybee said the field was underutilized, in need of repairs, and the city couldn’t find an appropriate use for it. It was too large for youth sports, and it couldn’t be rented out, she said.
The Parks department decided to renovate the area into multi-use field for adaptive sports and activities. Bybee said the department believes this is the best use for the field.
“It was something we didn’t have in the community,” Bybee said. “We saw that (need) and wanted to create and address that.”
For resident Michael Cochran, the field holds a special meaning. Cochran, who was born with a spinal injury that left him bound to a wheelchair, said when he grew up, there wasn’t many things that represented him.
“The new generation doesn’t have to think quite as much, 'do I have a place in this city',” he said.
Cochran said he thinks the new addition is wonderful and is excited about the new amenity.
“I think the city is trying to make sure all populations have a place,” he said. “We just wanted as many kids to have the ability to just be kids.”
The project cost about $500,000 to complete and was funded by the Parks and Recreation amenity fund, which allows for the renovation of aging equipment and infrastructure.