By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO December 20, 2002 The Pro Prospects Baseball/Softball Training School has been very active since it opened in 1997.
Pro Prospects founder Steve Pinto started the school slowly, training three children. Now the school teaches over 200 kids a year.
For the last three years, Pinto has been looking for property to try and expand his school. The current school on North Lakewood Avenue is just not large enough to suit the facilitys needs.
Pinto has been working with the Town of Thompson and Supervisor Tony Cellini to purchase some property on Cold Spring Road. The property is the former facility for the Towns Department of Public Works (DPW).
The current facility has two batting cages and a pitching tunnel, which allows three lessons to be taught at once. The proposed facility would have four batting cages, allowing for four lessons at a time. The building would be 60 ft. by 115 ft. with a 20-foot ceiling.
During the last few months, baseball and softball scouts from colleges and professional leagues have come down to look at the students. Last year, one student was signed by the Boston Red Sox. Earlier this year, a scout from the 2002 World Series Champion Anaheim Angels was there to see the students.
Cellini discussed the schools plans with the other Town of Thompson board members at their meeting on Tuesday night. The board members were very supportive of the project.
They had Town Assessor Thomas Frey give an estimate on the propertys value. Before agreeing to sell the property, the board wants exact estimates on how large the school will be, how much property is needed and the impacts. They requested that Pinto have some site plans drawn up in the near future and meet with Town of Thompson Code Enforcement Officer TJ Brawley.
I feel great about the towns support, Pinto said. Tony Cellini has gone above and beyond with his assistance and guidance. I grew up in Sullivan County. My heart is here and I wanted to commit to the kids in the area.
The plans for the school are still in the very early stages. If the Town of Thompson sells Pinto the property, the project still needs Planning and Zoning Board approvals.
Pinto is hopeful to have the new facility open, if all goes well, by the end of next year.