UNION — The Miracle League of Union County (MLUC) is now $50,000 closer to its goal, thanks to the City of Union.
At this week’s city council meeting, council members voted unanimously to donate $50,000 — from funds generated through the city’s Hospitality and Accommodations Tax — to the MLUC.
The MLUC received a $25,000 grant from the Timken Family Foundation last week to be put toward the modification of Field No. 1 at Timken Sports Complex. To become a Miracle League field, the field would have to be made into a completely flat, low-impact surface that will support any mobility aid including walkers and wheelchairs. The estimated cost of the project is $250,000.
In addition to the grant, the foundation offered up a challenge to the MLUC as well as members of the community. If $60,000 is raised locally by Aug. 13, 2013, the foundation will match the funds with an additional $60,000.
“I really want to stress to the community that if we can raise this $60,000 and have it matched, we could very well be playing ball by late spring 2013.” said Amy Austin, MLUC coordinator. “I know we can do it.”
At a city council meeting in September, council members voted to amend the Hospitality and Accommodations Tax to allow the city to participate in funding events outside its municipal limits as long as they directly benefit the city.
Finance Director Walker Gallman estimated that approximately $150,000 is generated each year through the tax.
At Tuesday’s meeting, council members decided to donate $50,000 of those funds to the MLUC, putting the group’s $60,000-challenge goal within reach. The City of Union joined Union County in supporting the MLUC, as the county donated the field at Timken Sports Complex.
“I’m happy we were able to help with such a wonderful cause,” said City Councilman Jim Wilson.
Wilson said the MLUC is projected to affect an eight-county region, bringing special needs children and parents from surrounding counties into Union. He also said that MLUC is also looking to sponsor Wounded Warrior events on the field.
Austin said everyone involved is thrilled with the city’s decision. She pointed out that they will continue to raise money to be sure to meet the goal and that more funds will be needed after the field is constructed.
Austin said that everyone — individuals, clubs, organizations, churches, schools, committees, etc. — who donates or hosts a fundraiser will be an “Angel in the Outfield,” and their names will be displayed on a banner at the field.
Look for “The Miracle League of Union County” on Facebook for more information, and meet the MLUC mascot, “Homer,” at the Union County Agricultural Fair this week. “Homer” was made possible by a donation from the Junior Charity League.
Staff Writer Derik Vanderford can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 29, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.