Shovels dug into Carrier Park in East Syracuse for the first time on Saturday, as Friends of Dewitt Parks and Recreation broke ground on the new Willis Carrier Recreation Center and Challenger Field of Dreams.
The Little Leaguers looked on as the ceremony featured government leaders locally, county and state-wide, pledging their support for the future site of a state-of-the-art sports facility. The support came not only by their presence, but also in the fund-raising efforts. The Onondaga County legislature donated $25,000, NYS Assemblyman Sam Roberts announced a grant of $100,000 and NYS Senator John DeFrancisco announced another grant of $100,000.
But, the project is ambitious, as the fundraising campaign has a goal of $9 million to complete all phases of the facility, so donations are still needed. Go to www.friendsofdewittparks.org or www.challengerfieldofdreams.org to find out how you can help.
While the fields will accommodate thousands of athletes and people in the region, it would also provide a permanent home of the Syracuse Challenger Little League Baseball/Softball Division, which provides children with special kids the opportunity to play baseball and softball. They've named their future field the "Challenger Field of Dreams".
"The special needs children of Syracuse Challenger Baseball, the largest single district Challenger Baseball program in the country, have motivated and inspired the entire Central New York community with their dream to build a fully handicap accessible sports complex available to all children and adults," Dom Cambareri, Program Director for Syracuse Challenger Baseball, says. "Today, their dream has become reality."
Click on the video to meet the Challenger Little Leaguers, and see more on what this complex would do for sports in Central New York.