Foundation seeks support to build all-accessible ballpark

McDONOUGH — A Southern Crescent nonprofit group is planning its Second Annual Poker Run fundraiser Sept. 28.

The poker-theme motorcycle charity ride benefits the construction of a multi-faceted park designed to serve disabled youth and adults.

Organizer Lori Harris said all proceeds from the Poker Run will go into building HOPE Park, a project named after its founder’s mission in “Helping Other People Excel.”

The park is 26 acres of infrastructure left by the failed beginnings of a new subdivision in Lovejoy. It sits on the corner of East Lovejoy and Hastings Bridge roads near the Henry-Clayton line, a few miles from Fayette and Spalding counties.

Fayetteville couple Linda and David Clark head up the nonprofit Southern Crescent Sports Foundation Inc., under which the project was created.

The Clarks bought the property as part of their efforts to serve and provide the community with an all-accessible playground that would enable people with special needs to interact and play with others in a safe environment.

The Poker Run is the next step in their fundraising efforts to transform the vacant property.

Harris said the ride is designed to take participants to five different sites throughout metro Atlanta. At each stop, they collect a poker card until they have a full hand. The rider with the winning hand will receive the grand prize.

Riders will leave Cycle Nation, 755 Industrial Blvd. in McDonough at 10 a.m.

Registration is $35 per person and includes a pancake breakfast at Cycle Nation, a Mexican lunch at No Mas Mexican Restaurant in Atlanta and a “car-and-bike show” barbecue dinner at Stone Mountain Harley Davidson in Conyers.

Participants also will stop at HOPE Park in Lovejoy before heading to Douglasvilletocatch the Douglasville Miracle League vs. HOPE Park Miracle League exhibition baseball game.

Harris said the game will demonstrate to spectators what the HOPE Park project is all about.

The first phase of the project includes a competitive wheelchair softball field, which will double as a Miracle League baseball field. It will include 30,000 square feet of all accessible playground, a community garden, parking, restrooms and a concession stand.

“This park benefits everyone, but Phase One particularly benefits disabled children, our wounded veterans and citizens whose lives have been tragically affected by accidents leaving them disabled,” said Harris.

She said members of the Southern Crescent Sports Foundation have been working on raising $2 million in order to break ground on Phase One, but they also need in-kind donations such as demolition and grading services.

Poker Run participants may register in advance at www.OurHopePark.com or between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. at Cycle Nation the day of the event.

Those interested in the HOPE Park project are asked to call Harris at 1-231-360-3469 or email her at lori@ourhopepark.com.