In April 2017, a plot of land at Hillcrest Park in Vancouver became British Columbia’s first Challenger Baseball field when the field, built specifically for use by disabled children, was opened for action.
With help from USGreentech, which is based out of Cincinnati, the field was built to specifically accommodate children who have either cognitive or physical disabilities. These children otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to participate in sports such as baseball, but they now can through the fully ADA-compliant field.
The field is designed with wider entrances to the field, no stairs, larger dugouts and extra space in foul territory, which makes it easier for children who require the use of mobility aids to get them around the diamond. The Challenger Baseball field is designed in the mold of traditional Little League fields with these and some other necessary adjustments for the children who will be enjoying the game of baseball on it, such as having all the bases as graphical elements in the surface, instead of being raised surfaces.
The field also has a second set of bases that allow the field to be used for regular Little League baseball games as well, making it a truly all-inclusive athletic field.
The infield is an artificial turf surface that can withstand all the normal wear and tear that a baseball field incurs, plus has the additional strength and durability necessary for the wear and tear of wheelchairs. Beyond just the turf surface itself, though, USGreentech is helping children, parents and community members stay safe on the Challenger Baseball field by using Envirofill as the infill material.
Not only is Envirofill one of the most durable infill material that can be used in an artificial turf field, carrying a 16-year warranty, it requires very little maintenance at all – an important aspect for any organization that owns and runs the field. Perhaps most importantly, though, is Envirofill is a clean and safe product that prevents the growth of bacteria and microbes that can cause stains, odors and product deterioration. Envirofill provides a clean and safe surface on which the Challenger Baseball athletes can play.
Artificial turf surfaces are becoming more and more popular at youth recreation facilities throughout the United States and Canada. Artificial turf systems are being installed at playgrounds and not just athletic fields, because of the maintenance-free aspect as well as the soft and safe surfaces they provide.
At the same time, there is a growing need to have playgrounds be ADA accessible so they can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of their mobility. In response, the American Society for Testing Material created a test called the ASTM F-1951 that has a standard for determining accessibility of surface systems under and around playground equipment.
In layman’s terms, the force required to propel a wheelchair on the surface must be less than that to propel a wheelchair up a ramp with a slope of 1:15. The surface must have a ratio of 1.0 or less compared to the slope. Both of USGreentech’s infill products, Envirofill and Safeshell, passed this test with flying colors, meaning they are optimal infills for surfaces that have ADA requirements. Envirofill score 0.31 straight propulsion and 0.62 turning, with Safeshell scoring 0.11 strait propulsion and 0.36 turning.
In fact, Envirofill’s performance in this regard is one of the main reasons why the officials with the Hillcrest Challenger Baseball field selected it for its turf surface over other more common infill such as crumb rubber. Envirofill creates a firm surface, as the tests showed, which makes it great for ADA applications.
One of the most important aspects of an artificial turf surface’s ability to do this is the infill used with it, which plays a major role in the surface interaction of whatever hits the surface, whether it be someone’s shoes, athletic footwear or a wheelchair.
USGreentech’s vast experience in this arena has made it one of the most trusted companies in the field of artificial turf not just at athletic fields, but also ADA-compliant playgrounds and special needs fields such as the Challenger Baseball field.
With this experience, USGreentech’s Envirofill was able to help make the dreams of special needs children in Vancouver come true with the opening of the Hillcrest Challenger Baseball field. In fact, the Challenger Baseball field has also brought awareness to the need for even more similar facilities around British Columbia to serve special needs children.