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May 10, 2021

Challenger Little League opens first season in Wicomico

SALISBURY, Md. - With a “Play ball!” from player Cheyanne Shrieves, the Lower Shore’s first season of Challenger Little League got underway Saturday, May 8.

An Opening Day ceremony kicked off the first official season of Challenger Little League at Field 7 ½, which was designed to provide individuals with physical or mental disabilities the opportunity to play baseball. The field is located between fields seven and eight at the Henry S. Parker Athletic Complex in Wicomico County.

Wicomico County Recreation, Parks & Tourism Director Steve Miller and Acting Wicomico County Executive John Psota both spoke about how this project has been a community effort.

“This community has rallied to create something really, really special,” Miller said.

An inclusive playground and sensory trail opened earlier that week at the Complex as part of Project 7 ½.

“This ball field, the playground and the sensory trail has been a truly community effort, in every sense of the word,” Psota said.

Funding came from private donations as well as state and County monies.

Before two games were played, attendees cheered for Challenger Little League players as they made their way to the field in a parade that went under the Field 7 ½ arch. Players walked with their Buddies, who help and support Challenger participants in their games while also forming friendships with them.

“I have a feeling that this field and playground is going to result in a lot of lasting memories and friendships also,” Psota said.

Jim Perdue, chairman of Perdue Farms, threw the ceremonial first pitch, saying that the Perdue family and The Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation are excited to be part of this effort.

“We want you to have a great, great time on this field, and I know you will,” he said.

 

May 5, 2021

Wicomico County opens inclusive playground


SALISBURY, Md. - Wicomico County officials have opened a new inclusive playground at the Henry S. Parker Athletic Complex in Salisbury.

On Tuesday, a group gathered at the Complex to cut the ribbon on the project, which was unveiled in November of last year.

The playground complements the recent addition of Field 7 ½, which was completed in the spring. The field is designed to provide individuals with physical or mental disabilities the opportunity to play baseball.

The playground is built to encourage children, adults and families of all abilities to play together. The equipment is designed to address the needs of every child.

A sensory trail was also installed behind field seven as part of the project. There are three sensory pods located along the trail, with plans to add new pods in the future.

The Donnie Williams Foundation was recognized for its $100,000 commitment to the project. The donation was combined with other private donations and state and local monies to fund construction of the playground.

“This new addition is something that Donnie would truly be happy with,” said Allen Brown, who was representing the Donnie Williams Foundation and is also chair of the Wicomico County Recreation & Parks Commission.

Acting Wicomico County Executive John Psota also spoke to the group, which included local elementary and middle school students, elected officials, and other community members.

“The Donnie Williams Foundation challenges children, and all of us, to dream big, and in working together, we can make those dreams possible,” Psota said. “Thank you again to everyone who had a part in this project, and I’m excited to see all these faces out here in this playground very soon.”

Cunningham Recreation was hired to design and construct the playground. Brian Lewis, president of the company, said among the playground’s features are wheelchair ramps and accessible transfer platforms by slide entrances. Another is an accessible merry-go-round that allows a child with a mobility device to spin with others.

“That may be an experience these children have never had before because there’s very few of those in the United States,” Lewis said. “We have one here in Wicomico County.”

The playground is located between fields six and seven and is open during park hours, sunrise to sunset.

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