Hillsborough Baseball Park Strikes Out With Officials
Posted March 25, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST
HILLSBOROUGH — A baseball field in Hillsborough has run afoul of environmental regulations, and dozens of kids have gotten the boot from their neighborhood ballpark.
To James Stewart, this is his "field of dreams." Stewart had dreamed of having a park where kids in the Fairview neighborhood could play baseball.
So he built one.
And the children came.
In fact, more than a hundred kids played in the Fairview Eagles league last year.
"You got friends who can play baseball with you and the people who play baseball real good can be on your team and stuff like that," says player Artimus Stewart.
The problem is, the land used to be a garbage dump. Tests recently found chemicals in the soil, including traces of arsenic.
"If a kid sat here putting dirt in his mouth, he'd have to eat it constantly, eat a whole lot of it, to get sick, so that's how low the level of arsenic is out here," James Stewart declares.
Orange County will let the Fairview teams practice at local schools while it conducts more tests.
The county will even provide a bus to get the players back and forth.
But the Eagles are looking forward to the day they can play on their home field again.
"The kids are overjoyed. Their eyes light up just like Christmas with a toy," Stewart says. "They come out here and play ball. You ought to see them."
"We had fun last year and so we're getting addicted to it," young Artimus says.
The Fairview Eagles won't be able to use their home field this season. More tests are being done on the soil at Fairview Park. County officials hope to have the results back within 60 days.
Meanwhile, they'll play most of their games at the Durham Bulls' old ballpark. They hope to return to their field of dreams next season.