Letter from Senator Hastings

hastingsI strongly support the Tinley Park Bobcats in their quest to secure funding for their Champion program to improve the quality of life for those with disabilities through participation in athletics.

The Tinley Park Bobcats is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) volunteer organization that offers recreational/instructional programs in soccer, baseball, softball, flag football, and cheerleading. The Tinley Park Bobcat Champions Division is a baseball league for individuals with disabilities. The Champions Division serves participants throughout the south suburbs of Chicago, including Tinley Park, Orland Park, Orland Hills, Oak Forest, Frankfort, Mokena, Evergreen Park, Steger, and surrounding communities. Champions is the largest program of its kind in the Chicago area and serves approximately 100 individuals with disabilities, primarily children.

For many individuals with disabilities, playing baseball on a traditional field is difficult, dangerous or even impossible. The lack of an accessible field can be a barrier to participation in the game. There are currently no handicap accessible baseball fields in any of the communities that are served by the Bobcats. In order to address this issue and to ensure that all individuals with disabilities are able to participate in the Champions program, the Tinley Park Bobcats are building a handicap accessible baseball field at
Bettenhausen Park in Tinley Park, Illinois. This safe, accessible field will eliminate the challenges and restrictions of a grass and dirt field and will provide a surface that will help those who use crutches, a cane, a walker, a wheelchair, or other assistive devices for ambulation or those who have an unsteady gait.

The Tinley Park Park District has provided¬†the land for the field to be built upon. However, an additional $175,000 must be raised to complete this project. I’m confident that an investment in this project will help ensure that all individuals with disabilities who wish to participate in a baseball program are able to do so.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 708-283-4125 or via email at
District19@senatorhastings.com.

FOR ILLINOIS,

Michael E. Hastings
Senator
Illinois State Senate
19th Legislative District