America’s Favorite Pastime Comes to Life in West Melbourne
Retirement brought Jim Tapp to the Space Coast from New Jersey, but it was one visit back home that changed the course of his retirement. On this particular visit, he found himself intrigued by a friendly game of baseball taking place between children with special needs. Little did he know this game would inspire the vision for the Brevard County Field of Dreams.
Modeled after the South Jersey Field of Dreams in Absecon, New Jersey, the Brevard County Field of Dreams Sports Park is a 5-acre sporting complex designed especially for those with special needs. Children and adults with physical and mental disabilities will now be able to play the game of baseball.
“Once I met these children in New Jersey, I was inspired to bring this model back to Brevard County. Without this facility, some special needs children may never have the opportunity to participate. I wanted to make their dreams a reality,” said Jim Tapp, president and founder of the Brevard County Field of Dreams.
W & J Construction is currently building the park on the corner of Minton Road and Fell Road in West Melbourne. Once construction is completed, the complex will include three fields, a playground, a putt-putt golf course and bathrooms designed to accommodate special needs. In comparison to a standard field, these fields will be smaller, fenced in and equipped with a special rubber surface compatible for walkers and wheelchairs. The dugouts, parking and drop-off areas will also be handicapped accessible. Phase one is scheduled to open this fall with phase two scheduled to open in 2016.
“This facility is the first of its kind in the state of Florida. Our leadership team expects the Field of Dreams Sports Park to attract families with special needs members from not only Brevard County but also those throughout the state,” said Jim.
The Field of Dreams is funded in large by a grant provided by the state of Florida, as well as partnerships with the city of West Melbourne, Brevard County Commissioners, local businesses and the community.
For those looking to get involved aside from donations, volunteer opportunities are available. From every day tasks to coaching and game day operations, the community’s continued support will make an impact in these individuals’ lives and on the Space Coast.