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Article published March 24, 2012
Wrong sportsplex site
Jim RekichButler Township
I am a Highfield resident who is opposed to having a business complex with a 376-foot-by-220-foot-by-65-foot-high (82,720 square feet) fabric dome structure as the main building being built on R-1-zoned residential property. I also am opposed to this business venture being funded by a $500,000 state grant paid for by the taxpayers. I do not oppose this business or any other business. I think it is what makes this country great — the ability to do what you like to do, work hard and make some money doing it. That being said, I attended the Butler Township zoning board hearing on Feb. 29 regarding the variance that would allow the sports complex to be put in a residential neighborhood. At this meeting, it was stated that the proposed facility would be able to house many things, from football to baseball to basketball to volleyball. I heard that discussions had occurred with another business offering cheerleading and tumbling moving into this business complex. Next, I read in the Butler Eagle the statement from former Major League pitcher Matt Clement, one of the people behind this sportsplex proposal: “It will be multipurpose for softball, lacrosse, volleyball, cheerleading, tumbling — a multitude of activities.” This gave credence to talk of having another business moving into an R-1 residential-zoned area. Then I went to the Butler Township commissioners meeting on March 19 and listened to the owner of a business that offers cheerleading and tumbling speak in favor of the Clement complex. I went to their website and read this about the cheer program: “This is a team sport and you are paying for a spot on a team.” The point of this is that we might have another business venture trying to come into our residential-zoned property as recreational for the kids. I am sure that people who have had their request to build a garage, open a beauty shop, or start another type of business on R-1 residential property denied will be watching to see how the zoning hearing board rules. A representative of the Highfield Association also spoke in favor of this complex. I hope the commissioners see that this representative and, it looks like the cheerleading business, have a vested interest in the proposed facility. I hope the commissioners hear the concerns of the homeowners. Anyone being asked to support this complex should look up what is being proposed on the website of Yeadon, which manufactures these structures. Then they should ponder whether they would like the proposed structure in their neighborhood or next to their home. Again, I support the rights of both of these businesses in the land-usage areas that are zoned for their businesses. This sports business project would be perfect for the industrial area where Pullman Standard once stood, which I understand is looking for a business to locate there.