Tom’s River: Special Needs Sports Facility receives $50K from New York Mets’ Todd Frazier

Source: Asbury Park Press

New York Mets slugger and Toms River native Todd Frazier once again proved just how committed he is to his hometown.

At a Mets game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citi Field, he presented a $50,000 check to Christian Kane, a teacher at Toms River North school, and his wife Mary, who have been the driving force behind the RWJ Barnabas Field of Dreams project, with construction set to begin on a multifaceted sports facility for special needs children and adults in Toms River.

The Kanes’ then 19-month-old son Gavin suffered a traumatic brain injury in a 2012 car crash a short distance from the Field of Dreams site. It was two years ago, after seeing how limited the opportunities were for special needs children in terms of playgrounds and sports facilities, that the Kanes decided to push forward with the project. Since then, they’ve raised $2 million, leaving them just $200,000 short of their goal.

“We’ve been back and forth talking about this, and Todd had mentioned to myself and my wife that he and his wife (Jackie) were looking to do something in the community that was big,” Kane adds. “And what he meant by big was something not just in regards to baseball. And when I presented him with this opportunity, he said ‘This is what my wife and I were looking for — to give back to the community — and this is the perfect fit for us.’

“After that we were just thinking of what was the best way to present it and so forth. Todd’s new agent reached out to the Mets and Todd was on board with doing it at Citi Field, so that’s good for us in terms of promoting the project.”

The last piece of the puzzle involves the $200,000 naming rights to a special needs football/soccer field that will be part of the facility. “I’m currently waiting for a preconstruction meeting with the township,” Kane said. “Once we have that we’ll be ready to go. All the permits are done, everything has been ordered and the major construction crews have the plans, so they’re ready to go.”

The 3.4 acre site will include a walking path with rehabilitative stations, a temperature-controlled pavilion, complimentary snack shack, courts for basketball, bocce and shuffle board and a state-of-the-art, all-inclusive playground, as well as a baseball and sports field.

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