Community leaders joined officials from The Rainbow Connection and Tuscarawas County Challenger lead for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the completion of the league's new home field on the grounds of New Philadelphia's Faith Christian Church. (The Rainbow Connection)
NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) - The Challenger baseball league for players with disabilities now has what some are calling the best field in Tuscarawas County.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Thursday at the grounds of Faith Christian Church in New Philadelphia for the completion of the field, funded entirely by The Rainbow Connection.
Rainbow Connection Director Carmel Haueter says this search for land and effort has been in the works about a decade after a player came asking about the league getting its own field.
“We never gave up on the idea. From the time it was presented till the time today, this is our first day on the field, this has been a go,” she says. “This has been the best thing that’s ever happened to us.”
League Co-founder Janine Garber says it’s all they could want.
“Everything is wheelchair accessible here,” she says. “The kids always survived, always thrived in whatever environment they were in but this just takes some of those hurdles down, so the accessibility of this facility is just wonderful.”
Faith Christian Church Executive Minister Brian Flood says the field has a professional look, with drainage tiles under six inches of dirt and a coating of crumbled red brick.
“When they were installing the dirt, they trucked in six semi-loads of dirt from Pennsylvania. I asked why Pennsylvania. They said it’s the best dirt around for drainage on ball fields,” he says.
Flood says the field will begin hosting games on Monday and could possibly have some of the state games that are coming in July.