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Challenged Athletes Dream Complex getting new surface

Sonny Long

By Sonny Long
Aug. 1, 2013 at 3:01 a.m.

Anthony Jung, president of the Challenged Athletes Dream Complex Association, shows off the new surface that will be installed at the playing field at 103 N. Vine St. The surface is safer for those athletes in wheelchairs, walkers or who have balance issues. The official groundbreaking to install the surface was Thursday.

The Challenged Athletes Dream Complex is getting a little dreamier.

An official groundbreaking occurred Thursday for the installation of a new playing surface that is safe for wheelchair and walker users.

"It's called Sport Court," said Anthony Jung, president of the Challenged Athletes League. "It's a plastic. It's an all-weather surface. You can play all kinds of different sports on it."

The surface being installed at the complex is rated safe for a 4-foot fall, Jung said.

"It's a neat surface. Our issues in the past have been that after a halfway decent rain, the kids in wheelchairs would get bogged down. The ones with walkers couldn't do it.

"We'd have to call off games after a small amount of rain."

With Sport Court, games can go on, Jung said.

"It'll drain. We'll have concrete underneath with this on top. We're going to attempt to do the whole field," Jung said.

The $330,000 project has been funded in part by a grant from the city and a foundation grant as well as public and private donations.

Sheila Arnold, who has two special needs children and has been active in the Challenged Athletes League as a coach, said it was a special day for her.

"Let's hope I don't cry today," she said. "It's amazing to get to this point. We started with a vision in 2008.

"We thought it was a 10- or 20-year project. To be able to be here in such a short time - it's an amazing community," she said. "This is something that is dear to my heart. This is my way to give back. It's amazing to be here."

The Challenged Athletes League has also partnered with the YMCA, which has used the field this summer for T-ball and could help staff Challenged Athlete leagues in the future.

"There are a lot of people to thank for this," said Randy Vivian, president of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce. "Northside Rotary is one. Caterpillar is another. The city of Victoria has been phenomenal. So many folks helped make this a reality.

"This is an exciting time."

After the ceremonial groundbreaking, the Northside Rotary Club presented the League a check for $10,000.

Jung said the challenged athletes field started in a field behind a Lutheran church.

"Our next big goal is to expand the opportunities here," Jung said. "We have baseball and soccer and bowling now.

"We want the blind to be able to use this facility and wounded warriors. It's for the entire community that needs a special place to play."

Jung invited those in attendance to come out when the challenged athletes have games.

"It's the most inspirational thing you can ever see," Jung said. "The ones in this who don't have challenged children are the most blessed."



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