By Chip Lupo | Special to The Miscellany
ROCK HILL—Rock Hill and York County are stepping into a league of their own and the local Knights are doing their part to contribute.
Miracle Park, a project designed for special needs children and adults with disabilities, received a $600 donation from Knights of Columbus Council 6756 to help their endeavors. The park, the first of its kind in South Carolina, will feature two multi-purpose fields, a playground, and retail space. Groundbreaking is expected to take place in the fall with an anticipated opening in the Spring of 2020.
Fundraising for the project’s first phase began in the spring and the Knights were quick to respond.
“We have a number of charitable projects that we support,” said Ray Howard, Grand Knight. Miracle Park is one that resonated with the group and its connections to Special Olympics.
The Knights recently held a breakfast and lunch fundraiser to benefit the park and presented the proceeds to the York County Disabilities Foundation, the non-profit entity that’s coordinating fundraising efforts.
“(The Knights) have supported the foundation in the past, and when they heard what we were doing with Miracle Park, they came to us,” said Alice Davis, a foundation board member.
What separates Miracle Park from countless other athletic venues in the region is its inclusiveness. It will sport a baseball field equipped with a rubberized turf to accommodate wheelchairs and other mobility devices, but is still meant to serve as a park for all people.
“There’s not going to be a place anywhere like this,” Davis said. “We want to build a place with no barriers for people of all abilities to enjoy.”
So far, the foundation has raised about 90 percent of the $4.5 million needed to complete phase one, which will include the first field and the playground. Council 6756 is among hundreds of donors who have contributed to the project.
“This is happening because of the support we’ve been getting from the entire community,” said Kylie Carroll, Miracle Park executive director. “We do get major sponsors onboard, but it’s the hundreds of smaller donations coming in that really make a difference. With that kind of support, each phase is only going to generate more interest in the community.”
The timeline for the park’s completion will be about 3-4 years and will consist of a total of three phases. Once phase one is completed, fundraising for the second phase will begin. Council 6756 anticipates it will continue to support the project until it’s completed. The 15-acre site will likely be home to the local Special Olympics, also a Knights’ charitable endeavor.
“We’ll definitely bring that up for discussion,” said Howard, who was installed as Grand Knight in June. “We’re going continue to go out and raise money for our charities, and this is one that’s certainly worthy of our support.”