Toms River, New Jersey’s inspirational Field of Dreams opening this Fall!
The days are getting closer and closer to the Toms River Field of Dreams turning from dream into reality.
They need funding to finish the $2.5-million project and some may be on the way this year from the Governor.
Toms River Councilman Terrance Turnbach tells Townsquare Media News/Shore Sports Network that he asked the Governor's Office on behalf of the Toms River Township Council to consider providing funding to Toms River's Field of Dreams project.
As part of his proposed state budget announced on Tuesday, Governor Murphy is including $400,000 to be diverted to the Toms River Field of Dreams project, Turnbach said, which should be finalized July 1, 2021.
Nothing is finalized yet, the budget has to be approved first in order for the $400,000 to go to Toms River Field of Dreams.
"There is no reason to think that this item in the Governor’s budget will go off track," Turnbach tells Townsquare Media News/Shore Sports Network. "We are encouraging our State Representatives in the Legislature to support this proposal and see it through."
The Field of Dreams complex is being built at 1505 North Bay Avenue where special needs kids and adults will be able to play challenger league games on an artificial surface field.
Efforts are being led by Christian Kane, 49, of Toms River, a high school math teacher at TRN, whose son Gavin, suffered a significant head injury in a 2012 car accident on Route 571, which took away his ability to walk and talk.
Christian has spent the last few years drawing up plans to build a baseball field where Gavin and other children and adults like him can go and play the game they love.
The possible $400,000 coming to the Field of Dreams would be a huge victory in getting to that $2.5-million project cost.
"Terrance (Turnbach) was huge in this because he was able to get in contact with somebody in the Chief of Staff's office, they heard the story and told Governor Murphy and he loved it," Kane tells Townsquare Media News/Shore Sports Network. "It's a relief for me to know that I now have enough money to complete the project and complete it correctly and do it on time...that's the real part because this thing needs to be built, yesterday."
The overall cost of the project went from $1.2-million originally to $2.5-million for a couple reasons, including the Covid-19 pandemic.
"We added some other necessary equipment and then Covid was a problem due to the fact that I lost two major construction entities that were going to donate labor, equipment and their time and because of Covid those two companies lost laborers, couldn't get materials, they lost income they were having," Kane said.
That left him with a $900,000 bill he had to figure out how to pay for and so in March of 2020, Kane went out looking for donations, even partial donations, and then come up with costs so he can try and knock down that high number.
It brings him great relief that there may be $400,000 heading his way.
"This $400,000 really knocks it down to where you're talking $75-100,000 I need to wrap it up, which is great, because that'll happen," Kane said. "I really do think that once this thing is built, people will donate because they'll actually see the complex."
Opening Day/the Grand Opening of the Field of Dreams complex is tentatively scheduled for October 2, 2021.
There are 3-phases in getting this up and running.
1. Clearing and grading of the property...Status: Complete.
2. 'The Underbelly' of the complex....Status: Ongoing.
Kane said this includes electrical, water, sewer lines, crush stone and final grading and concrete work. He expects all this to be done by May 1.
3. Marturano Recreation Company going through the complex and putting in everything you have seen on graphics for the ballfields, snack stands, etc.
The field of dreams will be a field will be a place where special needs children and adults can play challenger division baseball games.
It won't just be for people living in Toms River either, any special needs individual or someone battling cancer in Ocean and Monmouth Counties will be able to play ball on this field.
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