TOMS RIVER – What does it take to become the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter? Field of Dreams is pushing through all the politics and the daily disasters and the celebrities to rise to the top of national discourse thanks to a publicity push by its organizers.
The Field of Dreams will be a special needs playground and more in Bey Lea Park on North Bay Avenue in Toms River. It will likely be the only area in the state that serves this purpose.
It would include a walking path with rehabilitative stations, a temperature-controlled pavilion, complimentary snack shack, courts for basketball, bocce and shuffle board, a state of the art all-inclusive playground, quiet corner, and baseball field. The complex is open to all residents of surrounding towns and counties.
The fundraising group won’t stop at the physical construction of the park, preferring it to be a living, breathing center so families can continue to meet. There would be organized leagues for special needs baseball and basketball, and special events.
It began when the Kane family wanted a place for their son that would be tailored to his needs. Their son was only 19 months old when he was in a car crash. A beer truck collided with the family vehicle in 2012, causing severe brain trauma in the young child.
The Field of Dreams philosophy is that a disability shouldn’t keep kids and adults away from the physical activity and socialization that they need.
“All I want is for Gavin and other kids with special needs to experience the joy of being a kid,” Christian Kane said.
Kane said that he spoke to the three local high schools recently and enlisted the likes of local baseball legend Todd Frazier to get the word out. Comedians like Ron Funches are plugging it on Twitter, as well as donating.
Does this media push translate into the remaining $400,000 needed to build the park? Kane hopes so. All of this might get the attention of Ellen Degeneres or one of the talk shows.
But you don’t have to be famous to help. The Kanes are asking everyone to spread the word with the hashtag #TRFOD on all social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
A lot of other elements are falling into place.
The naming rights have been sold, so the official name for the park will be the RWJBarnabas Health Field of Dreams at the Ocean Orthopedics Association Complex.
New Jersey Site and Utility Contractors is scheduled to start clearing the land–for free–on Feb. 27, Kane said.
At a recent meeting, the Toms River Township Council approved a change in use for a section of Bey Lea Park to allow this project and to lease it to the Field of Dreams LLC to construct and operate it.
The goal is to have it fully funded by Oct. 1.