Special Olympics marked a groundbreaking year with a literal ground breaking that will provide years of memories for athletes and residents alike.

Thanks to the work and dedication of volunteers, Little City’s Special Olympics program received a newly renovated softball field on the main Palatine campus that features upgraded benches, fencing, a scoreboard, new field equipment, and more.

The improvements once again allowed Little City to host Special Olympics softball games on campus and gave the team more opportunities to practice and play.

Elk Grove Village-based Midwest Field Solutions spearheaded the ambitious project, donating more than $30,000 worth of material, labor, and equipment to turn a field that had become overgrown with broken fences and benching into a pristine field with fresh sand, new benches, a repaired backstop, and surrounding fencing.

Jonathan Mueller and Chris Nielsen of Midwest Field Solutions made the dream a reality by repurposing material from Niles North High School, donating a special blend of infield dirt material that usually costs $3,500 a load, and connecting with other local businesses to make their vision a reality. Nielsen’s commitment to the project became a family affair, connecting with his mother who works at Probat Inc., which donated new dugout benches for the athletes.

Nielsen also connected with colleagues at the Chicago Cubs grounds crew who donated field equipment and friends at Werner Co. Professional Brands, which donated two Better Built equipment boxes for storage behind home plate.

“I don’t think there could have been a more fulfilling opportunity,” Nielsen said. “The players and the residents here, seeing their enthusiasm when they come out and see it, it has been an uplifting and wonderful experience. I can’t say enough about Little City and all they do for the betterment of the residents here. I’m just super grateful to be part of it.”