'Field of Dreams' Coming to Township?
Council President Glen Bianchini hopes so.
During his time as president of Gloucester Township Rotary Club, Glen Bianchini thought it would be great for the township to become home to a baseball field designed for mentally and physically disabled children.
He still does.
As president of the Township Council, Bianchini is hopeful he can help form a public-private partnership to bring a "Field of Dreams" to Gloucester Township Community Park.
Bianchini brought up the ball field Monday night after Timber Birch resident Joanne Carr requested an update for future improvements for the park from Council.
Carr asked the governing body about the amphitheater that was to be built in the park located at Hickstown and Peter Cheeseman roads, in the township's Erial section.
Bianchini noted plans for the amphitheater have been scrapped in favor of the ball field for the disabled, which, among other upgrades from the typical youth baseball field, would include an artificial-surface infield to make it easier for those in wheelchairs and walkers to play the game.
"That's something you'll start seeing, and hopefully soon," he said of the proposed field.
Councilwoman Michelle Gentek has been doing "footwork" on the proposed baseball field, including discussions with the township's Recreation Commission and the local Rotary Club, according to Bianchini.
Township officials hope the "Field of Dreams" can be built with little or no public money.
"Because it's so special, people want to help you," Gentek said. "It brings the community together."
Gentek and other township officials recently visited the "Field of Dreams" in Absecon, Atlantic County.
That field opened in 2004, celebrating its eighth season opener in May.
It now hosts games for 12 teams from six counties in southern New Jersey, providing a place for 220 or so children to play the game they love.
Absecon city administrator Terry Dolan credited a dedicated group of volunteers, led by Barry Hackett, with raising the money to build the Absecon field in the early 2000s.
"It has been remarkable what this group has done," he said. "I guess I gush about this thing because Barry doesn't."
Speaking to Gentek's point about the "Field of Dreams" sparking volunteerism and community support, Dolan noted students from Absegami, Oakcrest and Holy Spirit high schools routinely spend time helping out during games.