Working Together To Provide Disabled Kids With Their Own Field of Dreams

Time. You can't rush it and you can't slow it down -- it just happens. It's been said that good things worth waiting for take time. What started out as a chance meeting of old acquaintances at a basketball game has turned into a very rewarding collaboration for all involved. (We'll revisit the chance meeting a little later -- in good time!)

Fast Forward a couple of years...

GBBN Architects is honored to be associated with the Reds Community Fund (RCF) and has designed the Oskamp Field renovation project (located in Western Hills) to start the capital campaign and make the project a reality. The collaboration with the Miracle League of Greater Cincinnati will provide area children with disabilities a safe and permanent home -- the Miracle League complex -- allowing them a chance to participate in America's favorite pastime -- Baseball!

"Several years ago we formed a committee to explore a 'legacy' project that could potentially serve as a permanent home for our outreach programs, such as our 'Reds Rookie Success League," said Charley Frank, executive director of the RCF. "The collaboration between the Reds, the Cincinnati Recreation Commission (CRC) and the 'Miracle League' is a powerful one," he added.

Here's where the timing issue comes back into play. "The chance meeting between our board President, Owen Wrassman and Steve Kenat (GBBN principal), several seasons ago at a UC basketball game has had as much to do with the success of our steering committee as any one single event," said Frank. "GBBN's team has added the passion, experience and color that the project sorely needed." Wrassman and Kenat have both been long supporters of ArtWorks programs, having met during the Big Pig Gig.

The project includes five new fields, including the 'Miracle League' field, and a concessions pavilion. A rubberized surface for the entire field will allow for easy access for wheelchairs and walkers. The pavilion will be located close to the Miracle League field, providing a place for families to gather and celebrate. Accessible amenities like parking, restrooms, a playground, and field-level covered dugouts are also a part of the Miracle League layout.

The pavilion has been influenced by materials and imagery from one of GBBN's most recognizable projects -- Great American Ballpark -- obviously at a smaller scale. But from the design viewpoint, it goes beyond the various pieces that make up that puzzle. "It's about bringing together programs (RCF and CRC) together that share a vision in a collaborative effort," said Kenat. "It's about the mission and the kids, not the architecture."

The focus of the project is the children and their families being able to share in one of our nation's favorite pastimes in a safe and comfortable setting. "Anchoring the project with a complex created for children with disabilities and their families captures the essence of why the Community Fund was created in the first place," said Frank. He added, "The input, influence and energy of the GBBN team has also helped make the project a reality."

The two-phase project has a price tag of $4 million, including the endowment to assist the CRC in maintaining the facility. The Grand Opening is scheduled for April 2008.