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Murrysville Council puts off 'miracle field' decision

| Friday, May 4, 2012, 4:30 a.m.

Members of the Murrysville-Export Rotary Club hoped to get council's blessing last night to start raising money for a "miracle field" at Murrysville Community Park, but they'll have to wait.

Council decided to hold off on giving that approval for at least two weeks. That time will be used by municipal officials to study the field plans and determine if the municipality will be able to provide access road needed to reach the facility.

As Harold Hicks and George O'Donnell told council, the field will be designed to enable handicapped people to participate in sports. They estimated the cost at $1.5 million, which they hope to secure through a fundraising campaign.

Hicks represented Rotary, while O'Donnell, of Export, operates the Friends to Friends Foundation, which is dedicated to helping handicapped people participate in sports and recreational activities.

O'Donnell said the foundation, which he established, served only about six children when it started about 10 years ago. He said there are 165 individuals the foundation benefits, ranging in age from 4 to 40, from around the region.

They told council the "miracle field" will measure 15,400 square feet and be made of a cushioned, weather-resistant, surface that will enable children in wheelchairs to move more easily while playing baseball or soccer. In addition, Hicks said the complex will include a concession stand, restrooms and changing areas for participants.

Council approved a motion to review the plan to see if it is complete and determine what the municipality will need to do to provide the access road. The financial plan will also be reviewed. Chief Administrator John Barrett and Clarke said that it might be possible to have that done by the next council meeting on Oct. 18.

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