Archive for September, 2008

Field of Dreams, the Charleston Miracle League

Betsy Ellingson, RLA
Landscape Architect

The SW+A Gang at Opening Day

The SW+A Gang at Opening Day

A few years ago, Seamon Whiteside + Associates was approached by a man who had a big dream: to build a very special baseball field…one that would not only require backstops and dugouts but also a heart to serve some of the most special and overlooked children in our community. That day, SW+A partnered with the newly organized Charleston Miracle League and in the fall of 2004, the CML field held its first game. The special rubberized surface and wheelchair friendly facilities have provided life-changing opportunities to hundreds of special needs kids since that day, with the numbers growing each year. ‘Miracle’ is the perfect description of what happens on the field every week – the joy the players express each time they cross home plate is contagious to everyone at the park. One parent describes what the League means to her daughter this way:

“Sarah was always her younger brother Stuart’s biggest cheerleader whenever he had baseball or soccer games. She loved encouraging him as he ran down the field or around the bases. At the same time, she longed to participate in a sport herself. Ever since a pontine stroke following a brain tumor when she was five, she’d been confined to a wheelchair and left with limited movement in her extremities. Teachers and friends at school tried to include her in their schoolyard games, but most times the field wasn’t conducive to a wheelchair, and Sarah’s only option was to watch from the sidelines.

That all changed with the Charleston Miracle League. From the very first ‘Play ball!’ Sarah was all smiles as she was finally able to participate in a sport where the barriers were removed and the fans were cheering her on from the bleachers. The Miracle League provided a wheelchair friendly, top of the line field as well as jerseys, hats, coaches, and best of all, teammates. There are even team photos and awards at the end of each season, just like she’s watched her brother receive. For a child who could only watch and wish before, this was a dream come true.

If you ask her why she loves the Miracle League, she’ll say simply, ‘Because it’s fun.’ But really, it’s more than that. The Miracle League has provided for Sarah a place where she feels encouraged, validated, and loved. The brilliant smile she flashes as she crosses home plate tells it all.”

For more information about the Charleston Miracle League and how you can participate or support this wonderful organization, check out their website at .

Stuart Whiteside Interviews with SC Business Review


Stuart Whiteside

Stuart Whiteside

Stuart Whiteside, Vice President of Seamon Whiteside + Associates was chosen to interview with Mike Switzer, host of South Carolina Business Review; a radio program on SC ETV Radio.The interview was broadcast on Thursday, September 4, 2008.

Stuart spoke with Mike about SW+A’s role in the sustainable design movement and how green design practices are carried out in civil engineering and landscape architecture. Seamon Whiteside + Associates is proud to say that we have LEED accredited professionals in both our civil engineering and landscape architecture departments. As the green design movement has found its place in South Carolina development, SW+A has undertaken a program of continuing education and participation in organizations that support sustainable design practices.

In the area of civil engineering, a visible and successful way to incorporate green design into land development is to integrate low impact stormwater management design. Low impact stormwater management such as using vegetated swales to capture and naturally filter stormwater runoff is a responsible and effective way to handle stormwater and reduce possible groundwater pollutants. Creative engineering solutions work to blend the desired environmental safeguards with the goals of the development and do so in a cost conscious manner.

The same is true for the sustainable approach to landscape architectural design. Using native and drought resistant plants, adding trees and shrubs specifically into areas such as parking lots, and street medians to reduce heat islands and therefore the need for extensive irrigation, and incorporating stormwater runoff as natural irrigation are ways that landscape architecture works to reduce environmental impacts and incorporate sustainability into the design.

Stuart also discussed the movement to look at urban planning from a regional standpoint instead of through a hodgepodge of neighborhood, city/town and municipal regulations that often are in opposition to one another. Together with the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Urban Land Institute (ULI), Stuart and other members of the land design community are working with the Charleston area regulatory commissions to align planning guidelines into a regional view. The Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments has a program, Our Region, Our Plan that focuses on this method of urban planning. More information about the movement to plan regionally is available these organizations websites.

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