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'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, .

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.

Jim Holderman July 15, 2011 at 10:45 AM
When does government need to be come involved in what should be an activity for charitable groups? NEVER!
Renee Brussow Pilling July 15, 2011 at 11:22 AM
Agreed with Mr. Holderman.... Very Well Said!!!
OCNJ July 15, 2011 at 12:13 PM
"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." This is a nice plan, but why was the amphitheater scrapped? No use for it or what? Washington Lake Park is impressive with its theater and I would have loved to see one here in GT, but is there a real use for it? I would like to see the best plans for maximum use of this space.
Kathy July 15, 2011 at 01:42 PM
Though I don't know enough about the amphitheater being scrapped, I think the "Field of Dreams for children with mental and/or physical disabilities is an awesome plan! Hopefully adult teams with the same challenges, like the Arc of Camden County Sharks, will also be able to use the fields. Thanks Mr. Bianchini!
dorothy mitchell-stephenson July 15, 2011 at 02:28 PM
looks like all biachini knows about is sports, can someone help his train of thoughts for the residents who don't do sports????????????????
Darren Gladden July 15, 2011 at 08:02 PM
Well Mrs. Stephenson Mr Bianchini don't know jack about sports ALL THE FIELDS in this town LOOK like do do . Now on with your Arts yes if a amphitheateron was plan why not also build that and this field it would be great for our town .By the way whats going on with those Ballfields that Cal was helping with are they going to be done or that Jobs going to be run like the hockey rinks was. People what a mess that was and still is holy crap if 2.9 get you that WOW did someone PULL our chain ........Just care I do .........
Silence Dogood July 15, 2011 at 08:03 PM
This is a wonderful idea as long as not one dollar of public money is spent on it. If the township wishes to donate the land, let the people vote one that. The township built a beautiful hockey facilty at Lakeland but not only spent almost $2 million of public money they ended up financing it through a bond issue which those kids in the GTHA will be paying for 20 years from now. Let the Rotary Club or any other private organization raise funds for this poject and do not allow the council to use this as an election year stunt; because that all it is.
GTWatchdawg July 16, 2011 at 12:01 AM
If council President Biancchini wasn't running for re-election and feeling the heat, would he be suggesting this? In all of the years he has been on council, he has never mentioned a word about this. Some would say that this is exploitation of the folks he is proposing this for. For his political gain. The Nike base, (Cal Ripkin) fields were suppose to be up and running next month. Still an empty lot. Do these council members in this town have any shame??? Shame on them.......

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