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Land could be developed to build high school's athletics program

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A special use permit is being sought to develop an athletic complex for John Paul II Catholic High School on more than 23 acres of property along East 14th Street north of Fire Tower Road.

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By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, November 23, 2017

A special-use permit application has been filed with the city of Greenville seeking permission to build an athletic complex on a large piece of farmland near John Paul II Catholic High School on 14th Street, a city planner confirmed Wednesday.

The property is located in the 2800 block of East 14th St. between Quail Ridge and Planter’s Walk subdivisions. It is north of Fire Tower Road.

The site would be developed in conjunction with the high school, which purchased and renovated a church building next to the site. The permit application was filed in October, with additional information filed on Nov. 7, said Elizabeth Blount, a planner and staff liaison with the Greenville Board of Adjustment.

The application is currently being reviewed by the city attorney’s office for submittal to the board of adjustment, Blount said. Once the review is complete, the permit will go to the board which will hold a public hearing. Blount said the hearing is planned for Dec. 21.

Special-use permits are sought so landowners can pursue projects that don’t fall under the permitted zoning. According to Pitt County tax records, the land has a residential zoning.

Blount said athletic complexes are allowed as a special use if they are linked to a school campus. The 23.49-acre parcel was purchased in May for $1.3 million by RB4 Fourteenth Street, a limited liability company,whose registered agent is Jack Brock, an attorney with Colombo Kitchin.

Rich and Colleen Balot represent the company.

“JP2 has undergone major renovations. It looks like a high school,” Rich Balot said about work over the summer to rehab the old Unity Free Will Baptist Building. “The land next to it was purchased with the intent of building a full athletic complex with a football field with a track around it, a baseball field, a softball field, a soccer field and a full gymnasium; what’s required to provide students attending that school a proper athletic complex to make the school competitive and a leader in Pitt County education.”

The goal is to begin construction on the complex in early 2018 and completed by the beginning of the 2018-19 school year, he said. 

The project started with an idea of Colleen Balot.

“My wife and I strongly believe in the benefits of a Catholic education and the good JP2 has been doing,” Rich Balot said.

The school and its students have flourished since it opened seven years ago, Balot said.

“The students there have done amazing. We want to give them the facilities to flourish,” he said. “It a challenge to get students to want to go someplace that doesn’t have a proper athletic complex.”

Balot is a graduate of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, which had a small population but active athletics program.

“It was amazing we had all the smart kids there but also they were fantastic athletes. There’s no reason JP2 can’t be something similar in Greenville,” he said.

Contact Ginger Livingston at glivingston@reflector.com or 252-329-9570. Follow her on Twitter @GingerLGDR.

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