Prospect Meadows Seeks Delay in Contract Terms

By Steve Gravelle, Reporter

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By Ellen Kurt

MARION, Iowa - Backers of a baseball/softball complex near Marion are asking Linn County supervisors for more time to plan the project.

"We're putting a lot of pieces of the puzzle together," Jack Roeder, president of the non-profit Prospect Meadows Inc., said Wednesday morning.

Prospect Meadows is requesting the supervisors approve an amendment to its lease on 121 acres of county property near the junction of Highway 13 and County Home Road. The proposed amendment would set an April 1 deadline for the group to file official notice of intent to proceed with the project.

The deadline was set at July 1 when the lease was approved in February, then pushed back to Nov. 1. Prospect Meadows pays $1 a year for 20 years, with three 25-year options.

Roeder said planning issues, not problems raising capital for the $9.4 million project, led to the request.

Roeder said Prospect Meadows is still waiting for comments from the Iowa Department of Transportation and county planning and zoning on the project, which could affect traffic flow at the Highway 13-County Home Road intersection.

Prospect Meadows plans a complex of 17 baseball and softball diamonds, some with lighting and stadium seating; parking; and a building housing management offices, concessions and other services. The complex would host local league play and weekend tournaments drawing teams from across the Midwest.

Roeder couldn't say whether the delay will affect initial plans calling for construction next summer and a first pitch in 2014.

"That's premature to say right now," he said.

Roeder saidthe group's capital campaign is "going very well. We're in the quiet phase, so I can't discuss it much."

Roeder said another group's plans for a baseball complex near Dyersville shouldn't have much impact on Prospect Meadows. He said the plans for the Field of Dreams movie site focus on a baseball academy, not tournament play, for players under age 14.

"Hopefully, we can coexist," he said. "We're looking for local, neighborhood play, expanding that into weekend tournaments."

Supervisors will vote on the request at Monday's work session.

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