Field of Dreams

By Alexis Eades

The vision for the fully accessible recreation facility known as the Field of Dreams was conceived by a family whose young son sustained severe brain trauma from a serious car accident which left him disabled. Out of passion for their son and a lack of recreational areas that catered to his abilities they formed a nonprofit group named the Toms River Field of Dreams, Inc., which focused on developing a recreational facility that would fully accommodate children of all levels of disability.

Field of Dreams

Inspiring community interest, Toms River Field of Dreams raised money and solicited volunteer services from numerous private businesses and entities to support the development of this all-inclusive, fully accessible recreational facility located at the Township’s Bey Lea Park. They also worked closely with the Township to utilize a portion of their park property for this facility and partnered with the Township to seek Green Acres funds to supplement the project budget.

An all-inclusive play area is one designed to provide a safe place where children of all abilities can play together and is developmentally appropriate for children with and without disabilities.  As such, the complex will provide an environment for the entire community to enjoy year-round. In completing this complex, the hope is to increase awareness of the special needs community and provide a space in which children of all disabilities can play and interact together. It will serve as a sustainable landmark and a significant accomplishment for the region.

CED’s Role

Colliers Engineering & Design (CED) provided all engineering and design work, permitting services (NJDEP/CAFRA, Ocean County Engineering, Ocean County Soil Conversation District), and construction layout. CED also led the effort to obtain NJDEP Green Acres Program funds (combination of grant and loan) for $1 million to be put towards completing the project.

 

The Project

The project concept was initiated in early 2017 and opened on April 30, 2022.  The facility is located on a 3-

acre portion of the Township’s Bey Lea Park. The project includes a play area designed for individuals of all ages, abilities and needs. Bey Lea Park currently contains lighted basketball courts, tennis courts, soccer fields, group picnic areas, and tot lot, none of which will be impacted by the Field of Dreams project. Residents of Toms River and surrounding communities will benefit from the park as it will be the first all-inclusive complex specifically developed for special needs individuals.

Numerous businesses, individuals and other entities provided funding and donated materials, time, and labor. The Toms River Field of Dreams facility as completed now includes a playground area with fully accessible play equipment, two bocce ball courts, a basketball court, an accessible baseball field area with backstop and dugouts, fitness stations, a mini golf area, a concession stand, areas for assistance dogs, storage sheds, field lighting, and all related appurtenances.  There is a designated “quiet” area for those who just need to relax and enjoy the surroundings, as well as gardens and walking paths.

The project was completed in accordance with all the NJ Department of Environmental Protection and Ocean County requirements associated with roadway access, site development and stormwater regulations. CED took the lead in the approval process, coordinating with all agencies having jurisdiction over the site, including utility companies. Additionally, ADA compliance was the focus every step of the way.

The Team

Key members of the CED team include Derek Jordan, Bob Mullin, Kelsey Howard, Jim Priolo, Tim Coyle, Mike Monroe, Eric Wilde, Hesham Kammoura, Jackie McCort and the many, many CED employees who worked on this project!

Plan your visit to this barrier free recreation complex for people of all ages and abilities!

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