Field of Dreams may have originally been a Kevin Costner movie, but for 16-year-old Brittany Klenotich, the Space Coast Field of Dreams is a chance to join in with kids of all shapes, sizes, and needs. Florida’s disabled children park was designed from the ground up to be a place where special needs kids can have just as much fun playing on the same rides and fields. But the overall vision for the area goes much further, providing support for both disabled adults and disabled kids.
Brittany is the poster child for the Space Coast Field of Dreams, a $5.2 million, five-acre park located across the street from Calvary Chapel of Melbourne in Brevard County. The teenager has learned to deal with living with cerebral palsy, but she still needs equipment that can accommodate her special needs. The stated mission for the Field of Dreams is to “develop and support a quality, all-accessible sports complex, playground and programs for children and adults that encourages a meaningful recreational experience for children and adults of all abilities.”
Florida’s disabled children’s park opened yesterday to a crowd estimated to be over 400 people. Florida governor Rick Scott was in attendance for the grand opening, but the real star was Brittany, who made the first hit at the baseball field.
“She just kept saying ‘I want to play ball, I want to play ball’,” said her mother, Denise Klenotich, according to News 13.
Besides a baseball field specifically customized for disabled children with special needs, there is also a soccer area and basketball courts. The center of the complex is a covered area with an adjacent building providing food and snacks. But the main attraction is a park that is designed so special needs kids can enjoy every moment.
Hours after the crowds had already left, Brittany was still enjoying the park, especially a $14,000 zip line designed by GE. Normally, a zip line would not be possible for Brittany, but this custom device allowed her to speed from one side to the other without any problems. There are two sides to the long, green metallic zip line, with one side having a rubber grip and a round platform, while the other has a custom chair with a locking harness resembling a rollercoaster seat. My son, Judah, is only 2-years-old, so he and Brittany took turns using the zip line chair.
And that is the goal of the Space Coast Field of Dreams. The Klenotich family explained that the park is not only for disabled children, it is designed so all kids can come together and play. They said the park was the first of its kind, although they hope to expand the vision greatly over time.
Making the vision a reality took about 11 years, but the next goal is just south of the park. Currently, it is just mud and water, but soon enough they are hoping to see a small water park and skate area rise from the dirt. The community park will include a Starbucks-like store, ice cream parlor, amphitheater, and other features. What’s more, the idea is to provide jobs for special needs adults, who will run this section of the Field of Dreams. Over the long term, there are also plans to provide nearby living facilities for disabled adults, with the intention being to help them live independently from their caregivers/parents.
The Space Coast Field of Dreams will be hosting a second event this coming Saturday, January 9. The Klenotich family says it will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST, and they expect to have food, fun, and special events.
[Image via Space Coast Field Of Dreams/Facebook]