Reporting Pat Loeb
By Pat Loeb
CHERRY HILL, N.J. (CBS) — Camden County has created a baseball diamond that is fully accessible to people with disabilities. The ‘Boundless Field’ in Cherry Hill’s Challenge Grove Park will allow even children in wheelchairs to have a Little League experience.
The field was a pet project of Freeholder Deputy Director Ed McDonnell, the parent of a disabled child who devotes much of his free time to working with disabled children and young adults. His dream is that the field will encourage games integrating special needs athletes with able-bodied buddies.
“The kids in the wheelchair or the kid in the walker gets to hit the ball and then the buddy pushes the kid to first base and second base and just stays with them through the bases,” McDonnell says. “It is absolutely flat and hard, so it’s perfect for wheelchairs, for kids with walkers.”
McDonnell says the field is close to other, traditional fields, and also near an accessible playground, thus encouraging more interaction. Eli and Evelyn bring their able-bodied kids to the accessible playground and think more accessible facilities are a good idea.
“Anything for kids,” says Eli, “of course.”
“For any children,” Evelyn says, “it’s good.”
Nearby resident Sherry hopes it becomes popular.
“I’ve lived here for 27 years,” she says, “and I have not seen a whole lot of the rest of Challenge Grove being accessed by people who need to have things made accessible, so maybe it will be a draw.”
The field officially opened last week but won’t get much use till the fall, when cooler weather will be more hospitable to disabled athletes.