Marion City Council members gave their pledge of support to Prospect Meadows Ball Fields (PMBF) during the regularly scheduled council meeting on February 21, 2013. The council unanimously approved a resolution to provide up to $750,000 in funding over five years to help make the project a reality.
Prospect Meadows Ball Fields is a proposed 17-field baseball and softball complex northeast of Marion. The complex would host local league play and weekend tournaments, drawing teams from across the Midwest.
“This project will be a great asset not only to Marion but the entire metro area,” said Lon Pluckhahn, Marion’s City Manager. “The facility addresses a significant recreational need, and will greatly benefit the local economy as tournament groups stay at area hotels, shop, visit convenience stores, patronize restaurants, and visit other amenities.”
Located just south of County Home Rd. and east of Highway 13, the $9.4 million complex will feature 17 fields—eight with 400-foot fences, eight with 300-foot fences and one Miracle Field, specially built for people with disabilities. There will be seating and lights, as well as sound systems and score boards. Additionally, there will be concessions, restrooms and press boxes.
“We truly appreciate the support of the City of Marion,” said Jack Roeder, PMBF president. “The council and other supporters see the vision and how it’s a win-win for all. Existing and new amenities that will be built nearby will benefit.”
With league tournaments, including usage by Perfect Game USA, the Cedar Rapids-based scouting firm, Roeder said PMBF expects more than 60,000 out-of-the-area visitors each year for games, filling 80,000 hotel room nights due to extended stays. More than 120,000 people will visit the complex annually. The group bases these numbers on research from other facilities in similar-sized communities with similar climates. PMBF will create $25 million in direct spending in the area each year, and will create 200 full- and part-time jobs with an annual payroll of more than $500,000.
“This project really has impact in multiple ways for the area,” said Roeder. “The Miracle Field will allow people with disabilities to experience our national pastime in a complex with everyone else. We’ll have programs for at-risk youth who can’t normally afford to play the game. Our local leagues will have more, much-needed space to play. And, with our affiliation with Perfect Game, we’ll attract tournaments from around the country, creating tremendous economic impact here.”
Roeder added that for very large tournaments, collaborations with other close and accessible ball fields in the metro area will be key for additional games.The complex will be paid for through local and state funding, grants, private donations and loans and, once built, will be self-sustained through its operational income. Construction is in the planning stages with a target start date to be determined.