Complex to benefit area, youth

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April 1, 2014 | 1:51 am

By Jack Roeder

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As the Prospect Meadows Ball Fields project moves forward, the board of directors would like to update the community about our goals and vision for the construction of a new, 17-field ball complex located at the intersection of County Home Road and Highway 13, just north of Marion.

The board of directors of Prospect Meadows is very appreciative of the support demonstrated by the Linn County Board of Supervisors when it unanimously agreed to lease us 128 acres of land. Through their generous lease agreement, $1 per year for 95 years, the supervisors gave a vote of confidence to the project’s economic development potential and provided momentum to transform a vision into reality.

With 17 fields, seating, lights, sound systems, concessions and score boards, Prospect Meadows Ball Fields will help bring the benefits of baseball and softball to thousands of area families, as well as traveling teams. This project will enhance the usage of existing fields by attracting larger travel baseball tournaments.

As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Prospect Meadows will seek to attract economic benefits to the community and will reinvest in Linn County through a variety of initiatives, including our Miracle Field for people with disabilities and league programs for at-risk youths. This will establish our region as the Midwest’s premier baseball/softball destination for youths of all ages and abilities. When fully operational, Prospect Meadows will create an estimated $25 million in direct spending each year, fill 80,000 hotel rooms and create 200 full- and part-time jobs with an annual payroll of more than $500,000.

Not only do we support our neighbors in Dyersville in the construction of their All-Star Ballpark Heaven complex, we feel that the simultaneous development of both parks will bring greater success to both projects in creating a regional sports destination. Each project has strong merit and fills a unique demand.

Haven’t almost all of us experienced some positive effect of baseball or softball in our lives? Whether we fondly remember Little League batting practice or the tough love of a high-school coach; whether we’ve carted our kids to tournaments or shared hot dogs with our dads in the stands — the sport holds a special place in many of our hearts.

Prospect Meadows Ball Fields is a way to keep sharing youthful spirit at home. With your support that mirrors that of the Linn County supervisors, we will create a new chapter in Iowa’s baseball history by offering a venue for youth activities through baseball/softball here in Eastern Iowa.

Jack Roeder of Cedar Rapids is president of Prospect Meadows Ball Fields. Comments: jack@prospectmeadows.com

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