Proposed Prospect Meadows Baseball Complex
Organized youth baseball leagues in the Cedar Rapids area have been around for decades; however there has never really been a place where multiple baseball games and practices can be held on multiple diamonds all in one centralized area.
There are families who have kids that play on different baseball teams who may have multiple games at different times throughout the weekend, or even on the same day. Families travel all over town (and to other towns) to get their kids to and from the games, practices and tournaments, let alone anything else that is going on in their lives at any given moment. Isn’t there a better way to support your children in their love for baseball?
Luckily for our community, there is a project in the works for a 17-field complex that is expected to be completed in 2016 that will host baseball players, families and fans alike in one convenient location.
The Prospect Meadows Ball Fields plans feature 17 baseball/softball fields, one of which would be a “Miracle Field” dedicated to persons with disabilities; a recreational lake; a walking trail; play areas; gardens; and plenty of parking and seating for people to enjoy watching the many games that could be happening all at once.
Planned to be built on a 128-acre area that Linn County currently owns just northeast of Marion, the county is going to lease the land to Prospect Meadows for $1 a year for 95 years. There is currently a fundraising campaign to raise the nearly $10 million that building this complex will cost. The funds will be gathered from private donors, public fundraising efforts, grants and loans.
Prospect Meadows would not only serve as a centralized location for local baseball and softball players and their families, it would also be a destination for players to come to develop their athletic abilities and social skills; and would help draw more teams, players and scouts to the Cedar Rapids area.
With more than 500 youth baseball and softball players currently trying to play on 50 fields of varying locations throughout this area, this new complex will allow more space for teams to grow and for more kids to get involved. Prospect Meadows would also house adult league play as well.
Prospect Meadows supporters have a vision that includes not only bringing more youth into the sport of baseball, but also helping to boost the local economy. Prospect Meadows would ideally create 200 full- and part-time jobs, and could potentially draw tens of thousands of out-of-town visitors each year who will spend their money in our community while they are visiting. Supporters are hoping that with such a great Midwest location, the complex would be an ideal place to host various events and tournaments.
Along with bringing the 17-field complex to life, Prospect Meadows supporters are hopeful there will be some commercial development around the project as well. Spurring on development in that area would also create more jobs and more places for locals to enjoy new businesses.
The “Miracle Field” would be a revolutionary padded baseball diamond with wheelchair access and flat surface to ensure every child, even those with special needs, has a chance to live out their dream as a baseball player. Each special-needs player would be matched with a buddy who would assist them in their playing baseball, and act as a personal cheerleader. Each player gets a chance at bat each inning, each player is safe on the bases, every player gets to score by rounding the bases each inning and the last player at bat gets a home run. The visually impaired will also be able to play due to a “Beep Baseball” program that will be offered. The nearest Miracle League field currently is located in Des Moines.
A similarly inspired dedicated sporting venue for local youth that already exists in our area is the Tuma Soccer Complex, offering 32 soccer fields, 2 full-sized football fields, a pavilion, restrooms, plenty of parking, and concessions. This tournament-level complex is the largest in Iowa and annually hosts over 3,000 soccer games, cross-country meets and football events.