Spring start for ballpark

Bond ordinance will fund work on new Babe Ruth baseball field.

By: Jessica Beym
   Township officials say that work on a new Babe Ruth baseball field could begin by spring as long as the soil cleanup on the Wright South property continues ahead of schedule.
   The Township Committee introduced a bond ordinance Monday that will provide the township with $855,000 for improvement projects. Of that, $200,000 will be appropriated for the construction of the Babe Ruth field. The remaining $655,000 will be designated for the ongoing construction of portions of the Liberty Way road.
   The baseball field will be built on a 12-acre township-owned tract of land that is adjacent to the Cranbury School. The portion of land is part of the 130-acre parcel of the Wright South property that stretches to Plainsboro Road. Arsenic levels found in the soil must be reduced before construction can begin.
   The contracted company, EnviroCraft of Bellmawr has been remediating the soil since December and the company’s deadline to complete the work is set for the end of March.
   Township Administrator Tom Witt said the remediation is ahead of schedule and expects the work to be complete in two to three weeks, weather permitting.
   "We’re looking at early spring to go out to bid and we’ll start the construction right away," said Mr. Witt.
   In 2002, soil on the property was found to have levels of arsenic that exceeded the maximum allowed concentration of 20 parts per million. The arsenic concentrations — due to the land previously being used for agriculture — were detected at 20.5 parts per million to 30.8 parts per million.
   "They’ve been taking samples as they do the work and everything is coming back clear. Everything is well within the state limits," said Mr. Witt. Once the clean up is complete, Mr. Witt said the township will meet with the project planner, Brown and Keener Urban Design of Philadelphia.
   The township has established a subcommittee of members from the Park Planning Commission, Board of Recreation, and local residents to address the plans for the baseball field.
   Committee member Pari Stave is the liaison to the project.