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Trafford zoning officials OK plan for nine baseball fields

| Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 7:48 p.m.

Play ball!

Trafford's zoning hearing board gave permission to the All-American Baseball center to build nine baseball fields on a former Westinghouse industrial property during a special hearing on Monday night.

Construction of the first of the grouping of fields that will sit off Stewart Station Road should begin by June, said Dan Ninemire, general manager of the Trafford baseball training facility. Monday's hearing and board approval was necessary because the property is zoned for light-industrial use.

The baseball diamonds will be built where two unused soccer fields now sit. Penns Forrest Football Club lost its 25-year lease with CBS Corp. last year. In court records, CBS officials said the soccer club did not properly maintain the 25 acres.

CBS, which owns the property, has a 50-year lease with All-American Baseball in the Trafford Commerce Center complex off of Forbes Road. Plans include regulation Major League and Pony League fields and seven others.

CBS, supervised by the state Department of Environmental Protection, spent millions of dollars to clean up the property, which once was a Westinghouse manufacturing site. Although the property is zoned light industrial, restrictions set by the DEP make the property suitable for little more than recreational activities.

Because of the toxicity of the waste that is buried there, developers cannot dig more than 4 inches below the surface. Any foray beyond that must be backfilled with clean dirt.

“Underneath the fill, there are still hot spots,” said Trafford Mayor Rey Peduzzi, who testified in favor of All-American Baseball's proposal. “It was suitable for recreation because you're on, (then) you're off. I think this would be a tremendous asset to Trafford.”

All American Baseball's plans acknowledged the parameters set by the DEP, which include restrictions to building construction. The only buildings that All-American Baseball plan to build are restrooms and dugouts, which are allowed.

Plans call for lights eventually to be installed. Concrete light pylons were installed when the property was refurbished, but not all of the pylons line up with the proposed plans. The project is a significant expansion for All-American Baseball. The indoor complex on Forbes Road, which features batting cages and other baseball training facilities, has been open for eight years.

Bob Pajich is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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