Little City gets a Field of Dreams!
It was the summer of softball at Little City as the Palatine campus received a huge renovation that transformed the old field into a true diamond!
Elk Grove-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, and 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 of the residents here. I’m just super grateful to be part of it.”
The new field was officially opened with a grand opening event in June that drew dozens of staff, donors and plenty of residents who watched the Little City Special Olympics team take the field. Pre-game ceremonies included special recognition of all the donors who made the renovation possible, a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and a special rendition of the national anthem by longtime resident Jerry Rose.
Little City Chief Executive Officer Marie Newman said the field is not only a beautiful place where Little City participants and athletes will create memories for years to come, but a symbol of what can be accomplished with community support.
“It is inspiring to see our local businesses commit so much to our mission and help create a better place to learn, grow, and play for our residents and athletes,” Newman said. “We could not be more grateful for Midwest Field Solutions and all the people who made this field a reality. They went above and beyond and you can see the joy they brought in all the faces of our residents.”
But the dreaming didn’t stop there. Last month, dozens of volunteers from Zurich came to campus to continue transforming our Field of Dreams!
Volunteers rolled up their sleeves and went to work clearing out over sixty feet of brush, trees, and weeds to expand the outfield. They trimmed trees around the field and our playground on campus, mulched behind the backstop and most of Little City Drive – and continued to ask, “What more can we do?” This field was truly built through community and we’re so grateful!”