“Today is a day that many of us have waited for a long, long time,” Mayor Sonny Posey said regarding the opening of the accessible sports facility.
The baseball diamond’s rubber surface and inlaid bases are designed to accommodate special needs athletes.
Members of Dream Team, a local league that promotes inclusiveness, can now play their games without fear of injury due to falls or rain showers that make the field too wet for players with limited mobility.
The vision for an accessible field in Jasper predates the creation of Dream Team in 2009.
“This project has been discussed and we’ve tried to find ways to do it over the past several years. Finally, we were able to do that,” Posey said.
The Dream Field is one of several projects funded by a $2 million loan approved by the Jasper City Council in February 2012.
Public works director Joe Matthews said the city has spent $350,000 on the Dream Field so far. The rubber surface alone cost $130,000.
Matthews said $27,000 has also been donated to the cause by local individuals.
Former District 4 representative Lee Swann was a strong supporter of Dream Field during his final term on the council.
Posey noted during Saturday’s ceremony that the construction of the field was largely due to Swann adding it to a list of capital outlay projects that was discussed at length by the council last year.
Swann, who was given the honor of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch, called the field “a real dream.”
The Dream Field is named in honor of George Lindsey, a Jasper native best known for his role as Goober Pyle on “The Andy Griffith Show.”
Lindsey, who passed away in May 2012, raised more than $1 million for the Alabama Special Olympics over 17 years through a charity golf tournament that he founded in Montgomery.