Our History

 Every child deserves a chance to play baseball.

 

Miracles continued to happen daily as we built the first Miracle League ball park in Iowa.  Members of Des Moines Kiwanis learned about Miracle Leagues in early 2007 and took the information to the Des Moines Kiwanis board and membership in May, as well as to the other metro area Kiwanis Clubs.  All agreed that we should take on this project–after all, over 3100 kids (ages 5 – 15 in Polk, Warren, and Dallas Counties) have disabilities that prevent them from playing baseball, let alone organized baseball on teams, like little league.  We organized a steering committee and began the planning process–basically with a blank sheet of paper (although we did immediately join the Miracle League Association which has provided great support and information) and no money.  Our first task was to find a site, as well as assemble all the needed legal and tax-related documents necessary for non-profit organizations.  Early in November, we became aware of a site in downtown Des Moines that made us quite excited!

Thanks to a unique partnership with the Iowa Cubs, our Miracle League Field is located downtown, right across from Principal Park on Third Street, and on the Meredith Trail/Principal Riverwalk.  The Cubs lease 24 acres from the City of Des Moines, which means we are leasing our grounds from the Cubs and the City.  The Cubs have committed $25,000 per year for annual grounds upkeep, maintenance, and security.  We anticipate a long and mutually satisfying relationship not only with the Cubs, but also the relationship of the Cubs with the kids who will be playing on the Field.     

In the meantime, we also became aware of the possibility of another unique partnership.  The 2007-2008 class of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute was searching for a “class project”.  Ultimately, the class selected our project as their “class project”.  This meant that 55 of some of Des Moines’ brightest and best “up and comers” teamed with our Kiwanis Clubs to build our Miracle League Field.  While they committed to raising the necessary funds to design and build the concession/restrooms ($350,000), various members of the class worked right along side on all aspects of the project—from fundraising to design to construction to public relations and league/volunteer development.  Because of the expertise of many of the class members, especially in the areas of construction and design, we were able to play ball (our short “exhibition season”) in the fall of 2008.  Our goal architecturally was that our Field and various buildings would replicate that of Principal Park, a “little sister”, if you will, to the Iowa Cubs’ facilities.  It was designed to be a first class Miracle League ball park–and it is.

Thanks to Jim Hubbell and Hubbell Realty, parking currently utilized by the tenants of River Point, is available to our players on game days (which means we didn’t have the added expense of developing a parking lot).  His company has also provided a special easement as a small portion of our field actually resides on Hubbell property.

Thanks to the vision of metro area Kiwanis Clubs, spearheaded by Des Moines Kiwanis (Downtown), Kiwanians contributed nearly $200,000 toward the project for “naming rights”.  We reached this goal early in January 2008!  Our grants application committee aggressively sought and continues to seek grants for on-going operations and our corporate/individual capital campaign is nearly complete.  Thanks to a $100,000 donation from the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, kids play on the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines Field.  And thanks to a grant from the Richard O. Jacobson Foundation of $111,000 we are nearly fully funded–a remarkable accomplishment in basically two years!

We officially broke ground on April 10, 2008.  

And the rest is history!

 

updated 4.21.16  4:30 pm