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Rockford baseball complex built around 2 homes

12:09 AM, Jul 12, 2013   |    comments
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PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) - Drivers passing the 80-acre Art Van Sports Complex near Rockford can see construction on the multi-field facility is moving along right on schedule.

But also clearly visible are two houses on 10 Mile Road right in front of the project that has some people curious.

Since they seem to be in the middle of everything, why aren't those properties part of the complex? 

"Nobody has talked to me at all," says Dwane Gerber, who has lived in one of the houses adjacent to the complex for 49 years. "I haven't talked to anyone about it. Nobody has knocked on my door. I'm not a baseball fan and now I've got one in my backyard."

Residents of the homes say the West Michigan Sports Commission and its architects decided to build the complex around the two properties.

"They didn't need the land so they didn't approach us," explains Gerber.

That's fine with Gerber's next door neighbor, Andrew Williams.  Williams and his wife have three young sons, and the ball fields under construction are a big reason they bought the house on 10 Mile Road.

"That was one of the sellers," says Williams. "I have thee boys next to a baseball field. It's hard to have enough room for three boys. For us, it's a blessing in disguise.  I think it will be a very good thing."

The grand opening of the $7.8 million Art Van Athletic Complex is scheduled for 2015, but play on the field is expected to start sooner.

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