The mission has been accomplished! Back in August 2010, Courage Center, with help from the Minnesota Twins, won the $200,000 Pepsi Refresh Grant, beating out 14 other Major League Baseball teams. Courage Center subsequently used that grant to build a wheelchair-accessible softball field for their teams. Previously, the Junior and Adult Rolling Twins played in a Brooklyn Center church parking lot, and they were in desperate need for their very own accessible field. That dream will officially come true in a few weeks.
After Courage Center agreed on a location for the softball field, they held several meetings to decide on the features of the park. Construction of the ball field started in April with the final touches happening next week when workers install a scoreboard and paint the lines.
Todd Anderson Field, which is Minnesota’s first fully wheelchair-accessible softball field, is located in Northwoods Park in Brooklyn Park. The asphalt field is color-coated (like sport turf), has fences, foul poles, accessible dugouts, and a scoreboard. Also, the field has a moveable fence along with a permanent outfield fence so it can be configured for different events. Courage Center plans to erect bleachers at Todd Anderson Field next year when they raise more funds. There is one field at the complex.
Todd Anderson Field will be a multi-purpose facility. The metropolitan area has four wheelchair softball teams. Both Courage Center teams will be practicing at the field, while hosting tournaments occasionally. The Todd Anderson Field won’t be just for softball. The field will also be able to host different events and activities, like a Bike “Rodeo” and Power Soccer (yeah!). Sharon Van Winkel, Director of Sports and Recreation at Courage, thinks that the “new field might lead to more teams.”
Next month, Courage Center and the Twins will host a grand opening to officially open the field. But, before the opening, Courage will host two wheelchair softball tournaments at the new field, including an adult tournament next weekend, with about five teams participating. On August 3 and 4, the new field will host the Junior National Wheelchair Softball Tournament. The grand opening will take place on August 9 from 5:30pm-7:30pm at the field (7600 107th Avenue, Brooklyn Park) and will feature speakers, Twins personnel, popcorn, and a ribbon cutting. Courage is reportedly trying to bring a couple of Twins players. Also on the agenda is a Home Run Derby with T.C. Bear and a wheelchair softball demonstration. It should be a great event to start a new chapter in Courage’s Sports and Recreation Department.
Aside from the $200,000 Pepsi grant, Courage received help from the Twins, Ottobock, Hennepin County Youth Sports, and McGough Construction. It took years to make this field a reality, and Courage Center is really excited to open this field for different types of sports and activities for years to come. Thanks to former Twin Michael Cuddyer for being Courage Center’s spokesman in getting out the vote! More information and pictures to come!
Written By: Michael L. Sack