“It’s like their own special club,” Kim Nuxhall says. The overall concept is possibly a first of its kind. While some mini-golf courses may be accessible to a degree, Kim Nuxhall says this is likely the first course in the country specifically designed with those for special needs. That means extra width at each hole, plenty of wide-open space for a wheelchair to maneuver. Kim Nuxhall has no formal renderings; the course is mostly a vision in his head, but the obstacles will be “cool.” There’s a huge Frisch’s Big Boy, a 22-foot giraffe from Trader’s World and a dinosaur, frog and hippo, too, relics from the former Joe Nuxhall Golf Center that once operated nearby. But Kim Nuxhall’s favorite hole will be No. 18. That’s where kids can putt through a life-sized bobblehead of his dad, a rendering from age 15 when he became the youngest player in Major League history. The theme on the final green, of course, is “Rounding third and heading for home.” “It’s just going to be really neat,” Kim Nuxhall says. “That, I think, is going to be fun.”
Kim Nuxhall says it will cost roughly $5 million to make that dream a reality; that includes funds for an endowment for future maintenance and repairs. Once the golf course is complete, finding those funds—whether it be via a corporate donor, private individual, or both—will be the next point of focus. It may also be Kim Nuxhall’s last go round. Once the g ym is complete, “it might be time to sit back a little bit,” he says. The League relies entirely on volunteer help, but when the gym comes online, it might be time to hire a director, he says, someone to take over the day-to-day with his support. But for now, the course is taking shape. The goal is to debut it in time for this year’s Nuxy Bash, the League’s anniversary celebration, on July 28. And there’s plenty of excitement about that. “The kids, they can’t wait,” Kim Nuxhall says. “They’re always asking, ‘When’s it going to open? When’s it going to open?’ It’s going to be a real special day when that happens, and we give them that opportunity. That’s kind of been our ongoing mantra here, to keep dreaming for our kids. Because if we don’t, who’s going to?” n
Kim Nuxhall with some of the children that use the facility
away in 2007—but his presence is everywhere here. Kim Nuxhall says he’d be “blown away” by what the community has done thus far. The League just kicked off its seventh season—April 13 marked the “second biggest opening day in the city” for 100 youth players, ages 5-16. An adult league similarly plays on Friday nights. The next “big, big dream,” Kim Nuxhall says, is a full-size gymnasium. While it’s been talked about for years, it’s closer than ever to reality. At roughly 18,000 square feet, it will serve as a year-round facility and house Butler County Special Olympics, a place for athletes to play wheelchair rugby, wheelchair basketball and more. He envisions a multi-purpose room with specialized equipment. Maybe another merry-go-round. A climbing wall. “An experience that these kids may not get anywhere else,” he says. And, upstairs, a mini-museum of sorts, filled with his dad’s various memorabilia. Part historical, but equally inspiring. “We want it to tell the story of dad, but beyond baseball, what really was important to him was giving back to the community,” Kim Nuxhall says.
KEEP DREAMING Joe Nuxhall didn’t live long enough to see his Miracle League’s debut—he passed
The diamond also has electrical outlets for wheelchairs. w w w.
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