It's been in the works for years, and today was a huge one for a future sports complex northeast of Marion. Prospect Meadows broke ground this morning at the corner of County Home Road and Highway 13 on a project that will cover 128 acres. They also announced they're nearly 85 percent of the way to their fundraising goal for Phase 1.

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Prospect Meadows, a baseball and softball complex, will eventually include 17 ball fields. Phase 1 is for eight fields, four of them with lights. According to a release from Prospect Meadows, it will also include a lake, gardens, a walking trail, support buildings, and a Miracle Field with a surface that's rubberized, and wheel-chair accessible dugouts. It's designed for use by special-needs children. Phase 1 is expected to be completed next year.

Prospect Meadows

Prospect Meadows President Jack Roeder also announced $11.3 million of the $13.6 million goal for the first phase has been raised. The land is being leased to Prospect Meadows by Linn County at a cost of just $1 per year for 95 years. Enhance Iowa, Marion, Cedar Rapids, the Linn County Conservation Department, and the Iowa Department of Transportation are combining to donate $5.8 million.

A $1.5 million grant was announced last year by the Hall-Perrine Foundation. Combining those funds with money from Perfect Game, MUSCO, Hall & Hall Engineers, Kiwanis Big K Foundation, CRST International, Transamerica Foundation, the McGrath Family, Optimist Club of Cedar Rapids, Cedar Rapids Area Rotary Clubs, and hundreds of private donors, a total of $5.5 million has been raised privately, bringing the total to $11.3 million.

Phase 2 will include an additional eight fields along with expanded wetlands. The total cost of the entire project is expected to be about $18 million, meaning $6.7 million still needs to be raised.

Perfect Game, the largest baseball scouting service in the world, which is based in Cedar Rapids, and Game Day USA, an event management company, have announced 1,400 teams per year have agreed to play at the facility.

Meanwhile, the Sports Facility Advisory, an independent third-party organization, says they believe Prospect Meadows is "feasible and demonstrates a strong likelihood for success." The organization estimates Prospect Meadows would generate per-field-income of $325,000 in 2022.

Prospect Meadows vice-president and campaign chair Tim Strellner says,

With Perfect Game as the ‘anchor tenant’ and all the games and tournaments it brings, the economic development impact is huge. Already two hotels have committed to building in Marion. More than 60,000 out-of-the-area visitors will be expected in the area each year for games and we estimate that more than 120,000 unique people will visit Prospect Meadows annually.

A grand plan is coming together nicely in Marion, but there's still money to be raised for what could/should have a huge impact on the local economy. You can donate to the "Load the Bases" campaign HERE or by calling (319) 393-1684.

Prospect Meadows